March (No. 494)
WFA supportive of single 'Wine Industry Australia'
The Winemakers’ Federation of Australia kept in regular communication with the Centre for International Economics consultants during the roll-out of the workshops across the country.
Stephen Strachan, chief executive of the Winemakers’ Federation of Australia, told Grapegrower & Winemaker that the WFA was “very supportive” of having grapegrowers properly represented at a national level.
“The resultant business plan will be a reflection of how the consultants and the steering committee see how a grapegrowers’ organisation should move forward, drawing on inputs from the workshops,” Strachan said.
“There are many long-term issues grapegrowers can buy into on a national agenda, such as vine health, plant health and the environmental issues.”
Implicit in the proposed establishment of a single peak body, Wine Industry Australia, is a change of name and constitution for the Winemakers Federation of Australia. The discussion paper workshops explained that WFA essentially would become Wine Industry Australia, which would include the proposed Australian Winegrape Growers Council and through this structure, have the weight of growers when talking with Government.
Strachan said that whichever model was adopted for the proposed structure of WIA (see Figure 1a & 1b) it would be important for all parties to have confidence in each other. “The bottom line is that if there is too much fear it won’t happen.”
An 80/20 majority voting rule for a representative Council operating within Wine Industry Australia was included in the discussion paper as a consideration which would prevent domination by any one group.
“It’s worth remembering that in the history of the Winemakers’ Federation of Australia, we have very rarely gone to the vote. Instead, we try to talk with all stakeholders and consult to get outcomes. The focus is always on what industry needs,” Strachan said.