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GWA steps up Brumby attack
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Stepping up its push for reform to the Liquor Licence fee hikes introduced in January 2010, the Geelong Winegrowers Association (GWA) has attacked the Victorian Government for seeking zero wine industry consultation prior to passing the new Liquor Licensing Laws.
GWA president Lyndsay Sharp says there was no industry consultation with key wine industry bodies – the Victorian Wine Industry Association (VWIA), Winemakers' Federation of Australia (WFA) or the GWA – about the new laws prior to their introduction.
“This categorically confirms the fee hikes are a knee-jerk, shotgun response to a totally unrelated issue – that of late night, inner urban brawling in Melbourne’s central business district,” she said.
“How can legislation that has a major impact on a specific industry be credibly introduced without consultation with that industry?
“It is nothing short of sloppy and arrogant.”
Sharp urged all other Victorian winegrowing regions to analyse the level of consultation specifically sought from their area by the State Government in the prelude to introducing the fee hikes, which she says have seen:
• A Vigneron’s Licence increase by more than 100% to $397
• A Limited Renewable Licence increase by more than 698% to $397
• A Temporary Liquor Licence (to attend one off events) increase by more than 300% to $90.50
“Given the history of the legislation to date – and the fact that the Government has already conceded some of these bizarre new blanket laws may be too restrictive — it is feasible to speculate that any notions of appropriate consultation that demonstrate valid outcomes could quickly evaporate,” she said.
Sharp said the State Government’s argument that the new laws were designed to ensure the liquor industry covers its own costs including the regulation, administration and policing of the industry were "particularly limp".
“The GWA believes this stance primarily reflects the requirement for emergency service resources (police, ambulance) called upon to deal with inner city incidents of late night violence,” she said.
“There are approximately 75 wineries in the Geelong region and more than 150 vineyards, all of which conduct their business in a passive manner and have had no issue with alcohol-induced violence in the past.
“The GWA will continue to pro actively push for reform on this issue that has such a detrimental impact on Victorian wineries, communities and tourism.”