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May (No. 496)


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Senate to investigate

A Senate Committee enquiry into the Australian wine industry will focus on the supply and purchase of grapes and relationships between growers and wineries.

The Senate Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport References Committee will conduct the enquiry, more details of which should become known in early May.

“This enquiry has been announced without any accompanying information on Terms of Reference,” said Murray Valley Winegrowers’ chief executive officer, Mike Stone.

“The detail of the enquiry should be decided when Federal Parliament resumes on May 10. The major reasons for the enquiry are believed to be related to publicity surrounding winegrape over- supply, plummeting grape prices, the hardship imposed on growers and regional economies, calls for a mandatory code of conduct, whether the Trade Practices Act is effective in protecting growers and the degree of fairness and transparency in the commercial arrangements between growers and wineries,” Stone said.

“The initiative displayed by the South Australian Government in assessing the economic impact of grape pricing policies in the Riverland is thought to have encouraged the Senate to also show interest in the state of the industry as a whole.”

Stone has urged growers with concerns and suggestions to participate in the enquiry.
“Submissions do not have to be complex, a simple signed letter will suffice. Information on the preparation of submissions is available from Murray Valley Winegrowers’ (03) 5021 3911,” he said.

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