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10/10/2014

Grapegrowers surveyed to underpin action on Emergency Services Levy

The Wine Grape Council of South Australia (WGCSA) has this week written to all South Australian grapegrowers, asking them to help quantify the increase in the SA Emergency Services Levy (ESL).

Peter Hackworth, WGCSA executive officer, explained some farmers are facing increases that are much higher than last year. “The removal of the general remission from the Emergency Services Levy comes at a time when most of our members are struggling to cover the cost of growing grapes let alone making a profit,” he said.

In its October 2014 newsletter, WGCSA stated it is further concerned at the impact on the thousands of rural emergency service volunteers who give their time to fight fires and attend road accidents, among others. “It’s hardly fair that country people who give of their time willingly and voluntarily should now have to pay even more for that  ‘privilege’,” Hackworth added.

He said WGCSA wants to quantify the impact to give it a basis for working with other commodities to seek changes. “We need some common sense in this; on the one hand the premier acknowledges the importance of agriculture to the state and then with the other imposes a fee hike that hits farmers more than any other group.”

In addition to information on the ESL, WGCSA is also surveying vineyard owners on how they are responding to the ongoing decline in winegrape prices and asking their views on options for improving trading conditions.

For more information contact Peter Hackworth on 0439 182 411.

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