ONE of the region's most celebrated shearers believes local workers can make "good money" if they decide to help fill the void of missing overseas workers.
Murrurundi shearer, John Burraston, said a shortage of shearers from New Zealand could open up more opportunities for locals to ply their trade in places like South Australia and Victoria.
"There is good money to be made if you are prepared to travel and do the hard work," Mr Burraston said.
"It's not unheard of for a shearer to earn $100,000 a year if they are full-time and willing to travel.
"I've been flat out around our region recently, but I'm sure there will be guys tempted to look at travelling to help fill in for the Kiwis."
Shearing Contractors Association of Australia secretary Jason Letchford said the country is facing the prospect of being without more than 400 workers for the upcoming season.
"It is absolutely a concern for us at the moment," Mr Letchford said.
"You could be looking at between five million and seven million sheep that those seasonal shearers would shear in a year.
"We've got a national flock of around 65 to 68 million sheep at the moment, so you are talking about 10 per cent of the nation's sheep that won't be shorn by the workforce we'd normally have here to do them."
Mr Burraston, who was the 2017 NSW and national intermediate shearing champion said the travel restrictions enforced due to the COVID-19 pandemic also had adverse affects on Australian shearers.
"It's bad for us as well because New Zealand is the place to go if you want to take your shearing to the next level," he said.
"You can learn so much by going over and spending some time over there.
"Most young shearers will at some stage look at going and doing a stint overseas in places like New Zealand, Europe or even America.
"Travelling really helps you hone your skills and there's going to be quite a few young shearers who might not get that chance for a while because of the pandemic."
NSW Farmers northern regional manager Michael Collins recently called for more training opportunities for young people looking to learn how to shear, a call Mr Burraston said he agreed with.
"I think more training facilities and things like that would be a really good idea," he said.
"At the moment, the closest place for people from around here to learn to shear is in Dubbo, which is where I went.
"From there, you can get regular visits from trainers that help you upskill and make sure you haven't developed any bad habits.
"I think any boosts to those sorts of resources would be really good for the industry."