PROGRESS: Community Axis Enterprises general manager Colin Barnett, left, and corporate services manager Graeme Eldridge, right, with Member for Mallee John Forrest during a tour of the new e-Waste centre at The Wool Factory in Horsham on Wednesday. Picture: EMMA COUTTSCOMMUNITY Axis Enterprises is surging ahead with its new venture at The Wool Factory in Horsham.
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Wool production at the factory stopped in April and the group is converting a wool shed to an e-Waste centre, where employees will separate waste components including plastic, glass, steel and copper wire and sell it on to markets.

Contractors laid a new concrete floor at the site this week.

There are six staff already working in the e-Waste section in another part of the shed.

More workers will move into e-Waste once the centre is complete.

Community Axis Enterprises general manager Colin Barnett said e-Waste began in December and since then workers had sorted 57 tonnes of waste. Councils in the Wimmera supply waste to the business in the form of televisions, computer products and mattresses.

“Horsham Rural City Council has been really supportive and we also have agreements with Ararat Rural City Council and Yarriambiack and Northern Grampians shire councils,” Mr Barnett said.

“We are hoping other councils will come on board.”

Mr Barnett said the next step of the development was to line the inside walls of the shed with iron and develop workstations for staff.

He said staff who had previously worked in the wool section had either gone into e-Waste or the business’s woodworking section.

“We also have some people working in ‘Stitch’, where we predominantly do packaging of drill bits,” he said.

Mr Barnett said the group had received money from the Federal Government’s Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs and the Helen Macpherson Smith Trust for the project.

He said the factory had kept six sheep as a nod to its origins.

“We are fencing off an area for them. They will essentially be pets,” he said.

“When customers come to the shop there will be an opportunity for them to see the sheep.”

Member for Mallee John Forrest visited The Wool Factory on Wednesday to inspect the new section.

“I have been watching their progress. It is a little unnerving having the whole focus changed but there is an opportunity in all of this,” he said.

“It is a whole community thing we all have an old TV we don’t know what to do with.

“My approach is that this venture is the style of thing we as a Coalition will support.

“It addresses the issue of carbon and waste in general.”

Horsham Rural City Council issued a permit for the factory to change the use of the property in May.

Cr Michael Ryan told council’s June 4 meeting the permit marked the end of an era.

“This is the end of the production of fine wool in a supervised workshop,” Cr Ryan said.

“We should acknowledge that The Wool Factory became a Wimmera tourist attraction through the growing of merino sheep wool.

“But I would like to congratulate Community Axis for seeing that the time had come and having the courage to pursue something else.”

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