Breaking the sheep’s back

It was Australia’s biggest business disaster and it had massive implications nationally and globally, but there was never an official enquiry.

The Australian wool industry at its peak was the largest ever developed in world history. By the 1980’s the sheep population in Australia was a massive 180 million. 80 percent of wool for the world’s clothing industry came from Australia.

But ten years later, the industry was decimated, farmers went broke and some were driven to suicide.

Charles Massy was brought in as a change agent on the board of the International Wool Secretariat following the dramatic collapse of the wool price in 1991.

He’s spent ten years compiling a detailed account of how over-protection, government corruption, and fixing the price on wool all combined to break the sheep’s back.



Download interview

This story first appeared on The Wire










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