AUSTRALIA: Wool Centre Axed
The future of the $30m International Fibre Centre for the wool industry is in jeopardy, the Herald and Weekly Times reported today.The State Government has called for Federal funding and industry assistance by the end of this month or the centre could be closed. But Federal Government and wool industry sources have said that no funding would be made available.The centre, which was to have provided on-site training on processing wool from the sheep's back to the finished garment, has been plagued by cost over-runs and processing equipment installation problems.When the fibre centre was launched it failed to win funding from the Federal Government, Woolmark, or the industry, so it went alone with a $25m capital investment and a 10-year operational commitment of $2.5m a year.Victoria's Training Minister Lynne Kosky said the State Government would not continue to shoulder the cost of running a centre that benefited the national industry.International Fibre Centre chairman Peter Loney was reluctant to confirm the closure until it had been ratified by the Federal Industry and Science Minister, Nick Minchin.But the centre's acting chief executive, David Nicholson leaves this week and eight remaining staff are also set to leave.
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