New push to merge service bodies

National industry reform is back on the agenda, with Winemakers’ Federation of Australia ready to push forward with plans that will see Wine Australia and the Grape and Wine Research and Development Corporation become a single organisation.

The WFA want to see the two government regulated service bodies, WA and GWRDC, merged to create one peak industry association, responsible for the allocation of research and development funding and the execution of resources and services to the grape and wine industry.  

It’s not a new concept, with calls for a single service body first raised as part of the National Organisational Structures of the Australian Wine Industry Review (NOS), undertaken in 2007-08 – but it failed when a unanimous agreement amongst the four bodies couldn’t be achieved.

This time, the WFA says it will push ahead with a plan and approval without the need for unanimous support.

 “During the NOS Review, when this structural change was first initiated, the federal minister at the time made the call that unanimous support was necessary before final approval would be granted,” Stephen Strachan, WFA chief executive said.

“It did become too hard in the end… but now we have a new minister, new leadership at Wine Australia and in GWRDC and we believe there’s a much better chance of success now.”

A final model, on how a single wine R&D and marketing association would be funded, governed and structured, is yet to be decided – but the WFA is working with the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (DAFF) on possible models and legislative requirements.

The full story is published in the September issue of the Grapegrower & Winemaker magazine, out today.

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