THE man who helped save mulesing is once again standing for the board of Australian Wool Innovation.
Charles 'Chick' Olsson, who helped develop and commercialise the pain relief product Tri-Solfen, is leading a ticket of three potentially new board directors he says will reset the direction of the Australian wool industry.
Tri-Solfen has been widely adopted in both the sheep and cattle industries in Australia and more recently has found new markets as an effective treatment for foot and mouth disease in South East Asia.
An estimated 80 per cent of Australia's sheep are currently treated with the distinctive blue pain relief gel.
In addition to a wool growing business at Goulburn, Mr Olsson is also well known for his animal nutrition company Four Season.
The other two potential directors running on the Olsson ticket are George Falkiner from Haddon Rig, Warren, and Paul Cocking, a Riverina based wool broker.
Mr Olsson previously served as a AWI board director from 2008-11, and helped overturn the highly contentious 2010 mulesing ban.
"The 2010 mulesing ban set by industry and AWI would have potentially destroyed the Australian Merino industry as there were no alternatives available at that stage," Mr Olsson said.
"Mulesing was and still is an incredibly effective way to protect sheep from flystrike.
"We must always be able to use such a valuable surgery to protect our sheep."
Mr Olsson said the industry desperately needed resetting because wool prices were now falling and the flock continued to shrink.
"There is a point where the size of the Australian flock will become unsustainable. We cannot allow wool to become a cottage industry," he said.
There is a point where the size of the Australian flock will become unsustainable. We cannot allow wool to become a cottage industry.
"That includes vigorously defending the rights of woolgrowers, powerful direct-to-consumer wool marketing campaigns, and most importantly reversing the staggering $61 million cost of running AWI."
Mr Olsson said $25m was currently spent on projects and $61m on the AWI bureaucracy.
"That's not what growers want and it certainly doesn't create an efficient or responsive organisation," he said.
"AWI should cost no more than a maximum of $20m a year to run, freeing up at least $40m to ensure that growers are getting the best return on their investment.
"Our aims must include getting the flock back up to 100 million head, growing existing markets and developing new markets, as well as maximising returns to growers.
"We can't build wool demand if we are spending 60-80pc of grower levies on a bloated bureaucracy.
"We urgently need a change in direction."