$21m investment for wool development

29 Jan, 2003 10:00 PM

WOOL research and development in Australia has received a $21 million boost with the recent announcement of investment in 11 new projects by Australian Wool Innovation Limited (AWI).

The Board of AWI approved the projects, covering all areas of the wool pipeline, during a two-day meeting in Sydney on January 22 and 23.

AWI's acting chief executive officer David Ward said that the approval of the investment was clear evidence that AWI Board and management were getting on with business and focussing on the future.

"Following a long meeting that saw healthy and robust debate about the benefits or not of providing levy funding for the various projects presented, over $21 million has been approved for investment that will benefit shareholders in both on and off farm areas," he said.

"It is clear that AWI, while taking a strong stance on corporate governance and making a firm commitment to adhere to the Statutory Funding Agreement, is dedicated to continuing the delivery of strongly focussed wool research and development outcomes."

Key projects approved for immediate investment include:

pA three-year, $6.9 million program to solve major problems facing wool producers along the wool pipeline through collaboration in fundamental wool science

pA four-year, $4.55 million program to develop a commercially feasible vaccine to increase wool production by controlling rumen protozoa

pA three-year, $3.2 million program to develop a canine-specific bait to replace the use of 1080

pA two-year, $1.2 million program to investigate the feasibility of developing wool for use in industrial filters

pA five-year, $2.62 million project to tackle the estimated $500 million cost to woolgrowers from internal and external parasites on sheep; and

pA three-year, $1.34 million project to fast track the development of enhanced legume cultivars.

Other approvals include two projects to investigate the development of new markets for wool in medical areas, a refined spinning technique to enable wool to be spun on cotton frames and a project investigating the optimal feeding of pregnant ewes.

Mr Ward said that while a commitment was made to invest in Shearer and Shedhand training with the approval of a pilot program to be conducted in at least one Australian state, two other proposals were rejected on the basis that they required further fine-tuning.

"The investment decisions made by AWI and an undertaking to provide transparent project funding procedures to all woolgrower shareholders are strong evidence that the processes and strategies for investment in Australian wool industry research and development initiatives under the new management are robust.

"These outcomes are clear indications that AWI is going about its business as usual and providing for a solid, responsible and commercial future in wool research and development targeted to shareholder needs," Mr Ward said.



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