Woolbuyers flex muscles over sales roster

20 Dec, 2000 03:10 PM

WOOLBROKERS and wool buyers have become deadlocked in their attempts to sort out a selling roster in the wake of Primaries and Wool Agency leaving the Australian Wool Exchange (AWEX) in Fremantle. During an AWEX regional committee meeting earlier this month, a compromise motion for a selling roster was passed, allowing Primaries and Wool Agency to sell first on one selling day on any given selling week. The motion will form the basis of the roster for the WA wool-selling season, due to start on January 8 when Primaries and Wool Agency will begin selling from Spearwood. (Primaries and Wool Agency are remaining as members of AWEX.) AWEX western region manager David Aslett, who will draw up the new roster, confirmed it would be based on five brokers and two selling centres. Wool sales at AWEX in Fremantle are held on Wednesdays and Thursdays, starting at noon. Two subsequent meetings held to find a more acceptable solution for both groups failed. Wesfarmers Dalgety, Elders and Standard Wool, who account for 76 per cent of wool going through AWEX, believe the basis of the proposed new roster would be a disadvantage because it would delay getting information quickly to woolgrowers. Timing is also critical for wool buyers and, if they finish buying at Spearwood, more pressure on them to get back to their offices in Fremantle and disseminate sale information to waiting principals around the world. According to WA Wool Buyers and Exporters Association chairman Greg Horne 80-90pc of brokers have their offices around Norfolk Street where the AWEX centre is located. He said, as far as the buyers were concerned, nothing better than the earlier regional committee motion had been put forward at the later meetings. A proposal, agreed to by all five brokers, for Primaries and Wool Agency to sell first on one selling day, per fortnight, was rejected by wool buyers. "Our position was that we prefer to finish any sale at one day (of each week) at Fremantle," Mr Horne said. "We would rather finish where our offices are. "We have no position on whether they have a fixed sale system or a rotation system." National Council of Wool Selling Brokers (WA) director Ken Walker said that, after failed negotiations at the two later meetings, members would only sell in Fremantle and avoid disruption to orderly selling. "We are going to do nothing different and sell in the AWEX facility as we have done for some time," he said. "We do not want any disruption to orderly selling and we will continue to sell at 12 noon on Wednesdays and Thursdays." Mr Walker said the whole situation had arisen through no fault of their own, however they were being singled out as the "bad guys". Mr Horne said, if Wesfarmers Dalgety, Elders and Standard Wool tried to sell outside the AWEX system, it would be a disaster for woolgrowers. ÿ


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