WA Shearing Industry Association holds speaker sessions online after cancelling general meeting in Perth

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Cally DupeThe West Australian
WA Shearing Industry Association president Darren Spencer.
Camera IconWA Shearing Industry Association president Darren Spencer. Credit: Supplied/RegionalHUB

WA Shearing Industry Association is branching out into online forums for its members after cancelling its planned general meeting in January due to COVID-19 concerns.

WASIA shelved its general meeting — planned for January 16 in Perth — days prior after the State Government mandated mask wearing for public indoor areas in the Perth, Peel and South West regions.

In the weeks that followed, the organisation has held two online forums featuring speakers originally planned for the in-person event — including Worksafe Commissioner Darren Kavanagh, Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development director of sheep industry development Bruce Mullan, and Bailiwick Legal director Phil Brunner.

WASIA president Darren Spencer said up to 30 people had been tuning into the forums and the organisation planned to hold more.

“It has worked out quite well, the forums are more accessible for our members as most are based in the regions,” he said.

“People were apprehensive about coming to Perth and worried that if they went back to their shearing teams, they would have to wear masks in the shed.”

Mr Spencer said WA’s shearing industry was bracing to see “what would happen” when the WA border opened this week, after nearly two years of battling severe labour shortages.

New Zealand opened its borders with Australia at midnight on Sunday, February 27, with the country’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announcing residents returning to New Zealand from Australia would not need to isolate upon arrival midnight on Wednesday, March 2.

New Zealand returnees from the rest of the world will also be able to come home without isolating from late Friday, March 5.

“It will be interesting to see what happens, to see if we lose workers or if we gain new ones coming into WA,” he said.

“We may get some new shearers in from the eastern states, but I think there will be a lot of New Zealand shearers that want to go home... we hope some might go home for a visit and come back to WA in time for spring shearing.”

WASIA will hold its AGM in June.

To find out more about the online forums, email admin@wasia.com.au

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