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26/02/2010

Geelong winegrowers slam new liquor licensing laws

The Geelong Wine Growers Association (GWA) has slammed the recently introduced State Liquor Licensing Laws that have seen some liquor licence fees increase in excess of 100%.

The association’s president Lyndsay Sharp says the new laws — introduced by the Victorian State Government in January 2010 — were shortsighted and almost certainly guaranteed to sabotage numerous tourism activities in Geelong and throughout Victoria.

“The ramifications of the fee increases are already being seen — fewer local wineries are choosing to participate in public events such as festivals, farmer’s markets, school and charity-aligned fundraising activities and other public events,” she said.

“Whilst the GWA endorses the Brumby Government’s desire to reduce alcohol induced violence, taking a shot gun approach to this issue — and simply introducing unrealistic fee hikes across the board – has crippling and broad reaching implications for the Victorian hospitality and tourism industries as well.”

Sharp says that since January:

A Vigneron’s Licence has increased by more than 100% to $397

A Limited Renewable Licence (to sell other wine and beer at a winery café) has increased by more than 48% to $90.50

A Temporary Liquor Licence (to attend one off events) has increased by more than 74% to $90.50.

She says a lot of the GWA’s 62 members will be affected by the changes.

“The vast majority of these wineries are small, family-operated businesses that will now have to seriously consider whether to be involved in presenting and selling their wines at a range of public and community events throughout the year,” she said.

“It’s a losing scenario all around – less wineries will become involved in tourism events designed to showcase Geelong wine and less wine experiences will be on offer for the wine enthusiast to enjoy at Cellar Doors and public places.

“The Brumby Government will lose out as well when it finds it has dramatically reduced support for tourism ventures designed to attract people to Victoria.

“This is a very serious issue for the Geelong wine industry – the GWA will be pro-actively seeking reconsideration of the new laws and will be applying pressure at every possible level, across all relevant sectors.”

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