Government taskforce set up to support growers

A wine industry “working group” will be established to provide support to grapegrowers impacted by the oversupply pressures, following a meeting of the Commonwealth, State and Territory Agriculture Ministers on Friday.

The group is set to be comprised of representatives of the Commonwealth, state, and territory governments, as well as representatives from Wine Australia, Australian Grape & Wine (AGW) and other relevant industry groups. This taskforce will then report back to the Agricultural Ministers to provide recommendations on how to address the challenges faced by growers.

The Agriculture Ministers’ meeting communique detailed the expectations of the industry group.

“The working group will be expected to visit regions most impacted by the oversupply, including the Riverland in SA and the Riverina in NSW, and will report back to Agriculture Ministers out of session by the end of April 2024. The working group will also propose to Agriculture Ministers actions to support improvement in the grape and wine sector and its long-term viability by July.”

AGW CEO Lee McLean welcomed the news of the new taskforce.

“Australian Grape & Wine has been encouraging a coordinated and collaborative approach to deal with the challenges our sector is facing and we are pleased Ministers have agreed to form this working group,” said McLean.

“We know there are a number of regions experiencing acute financial pressure as a result of supply and demand imbalances, including the Riverland in South Australia, the Riverina in NSW, and the Murray Valley in Victoria, and it’s pleasing the group will focus on ways we can work together to relieve these pressures, in these regions.”

“Australian Grape & Wine has put a range of options to the Albanese Government ahead of the Federal Budget, including proposals to help rebalance supply, grow demand and boost regional tourism,” said McLean. “These proposals are all aimed at helping Australia’s grape growers and winemakers to find a pathway through the current challenges towards a sustainable and more profitable future.”

AGW called for $86 million to support the industry in its 2024-25 pre-budget submission to assist those facing “undue hardship”.

“The formation of this working group is a reflection of the strong working relationship Australian Grape & Wine has developed with the Australian Government,” said McLean. “We look forward to working with Ministers, officials and other industry representatives to drive a positive agenda in the best interests of grape and wine businesses.”

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