OPERATIONAL costs will be slashed by about 40 per cent if the wool auctions at Yennora, Sydney were relocated to Goulburn in NSW’s southern tablelands.
Initiated by Regional Development Australia Southern Inland (RDASI), a cost analysis report conducted by Deloitte Access Economics revealed moving the Yennora wool selling centre to a proposed Goulburn site would reduce storage costs by more than half of the current $117 per square metre showfloor bill.
The Deloitte report will be officially released at the upcoming December 12 industry meeting in Goulburn, which RDA Southern Inland acting executive officer Mareeca Flannery said exposed “significant cost benefits” to the industry.
“The cost saving to industry is a massive attraction which means it remains feasible for the industry to maintain their presence in NSW,” Ms Flannery said.
The proposal could see the Yennora sales relocated when the head lease held by Australia Wool Handlers’ expires at Yennora in December 2017 - nearly 20 years since wool sales were last held in Goulburn in 1998.
The savings are based on refurbishing AWH’s owned wool store in Goulburn, the largest storage centre in NSW, whose two warehouses hold about 40000 bales.
AWH’s Finlay Road, Goulburn site is leased by Elders, Landmark, Australian Wool Network, Schute Bell and TWG.
One hour east of Goulburn, developers made a preliminary proposal to suggest Yass as a potential location, although this has not been pursued.
It comes amid industry pressure to centralise east coast wool selling, with Melbourne's current Brooklyn facility a key option.
A working group chaired by RDA Southern Inland’s Ben Maguire will be established following the meeting to bring the Goulburn proposal “to reality” next year.
“There are big players that can have some shove,” Ms Flannery said.
“(Having an independent) chair will mean everyone that sits at the table has the same vote and same voice.”
While several proposals to relocate sales to regional NSW have failed, Ms Flannery said the general consensus had been that relocation was necessary.
“Everyone that has had a go at (proposing a new location) has had a vested interest - RDA Southern Inland is independent,” she said.
The proposal will include a tourism element, with a public viewing of the wool auctions and wool museum near the home of the Big Merino.
“That celebration and national pride for the industry needs to be rekindled and that will only happen when we move to a regional area,” Ms Flannery said.
While refurbishment of the current facility is required, AWH chief executive Matt Tamplin said the Goulburn site had the capacity to house the show floor and auctions for NSW.
“We can provide the service in Yennora or a service in Goulburn - it will rely on industry agreeing on what it wants to do,” Mr Tamplin said.
“We are conscious we have a series of discussions that need to be had with customers.”
National Auction Selling Committee NSW wool broker member Gordon Litchfield, Cooma, said buyers and sellers of the northern sale had “cautiously open minds” about the relocation proposal.
“In principal everyone will have a look but we have seen these proposals come and go before,” Mr Litchfield said.
“There is reasonable chance that Goulburn will be cheaper but we need to see facts and figures so everyone can have a look at it - it is too early to start grand standing.
“Once this (December) meeting has occurred… it will either progress or be a dead duck.”
Australian Wool Network NSW State Manager Mark Hedley, Goulburn, said industry support to move would be financially driven and that Goulburn’s case must be convincing.
“It comes down to a square metre of concrete - a square metre in Sydney is far dearer than a square metre in regional Australia,” Mr Hedley said.
“If Goulburn stacks up and AWH can supply the service at a cheaper rate here than in Sydney, people will certainly look at it.”
This month’s meeting could be the deciding factor on whether the proposal is pursued, according Inland Wool Brokers Association chairman Wayne Beecher.
“It is all just a concept at the moment,” Mr Beecher said.
“We had a meeting and it went around in circles with people for and against the move – some want the status quo.
“It would depend on the presentation (for Goulburn) and we have had no inkling there is imminent pressure to move out of Yennora.”