Wine industry funding package announced, AGW seeking additional support

The Federal Government has announced a $3.5 million Grape and Wine Sector Long-term Viability Support Package to support the long-term viability of the grape and wine industry to respond to the oversupply of red wine.

The package will fund a range of activities which aim to build demand and new markets for wine both domestically and internationally, provide better data for growers to make decisions and diversify into alternative products, and investigate competition and regulatory issues.

The Federal Government has also announced that it will extend support for wine producers to grow domestic sales and promote agritourism by supporting the Wine Tourism and Cellar Door Grant Program for another year.

This is aimed at allowing wine and cider businesses to share $10 million in funding to help attract visitors to Australian wine regions and promote agri-tourism.

Under the program, wine producers can apply for grants of up to $100,000 on eligible cellar door sales made during the previous financial year.

These announcements come on top of $2 million surge support for affected Australian agricultural exporters to re-establish commercial connections in China and continue to diversify into other markets.

Federal Minister for Trade and Tourism Don Farrell said more than 350 Australian wine producers and businesses have re-established exports to mainland China since duties were removed.

“The re-entry of Australian wine into the Chinese market benefits both Australian producers and Chinese consumers,” Minister Farrell said.

He said the Federal Government is “working with industry to support the re-entry of our world-class Australian wine to the Chinese market, and to continue to diversify their markets”.

Federal Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry Murray Watt acknowledged the recent challenges that have faced the Australian wine industry.

“I know how hard the past few years have been for wine producers across the country, so to see the successful return of this export market is fantastic for the future of the wine sector.

“But we also know there are some in the industry who are doing it tough who don’t export to China, and that’s why today we have announced this new package to support the long-term sustainability of the sector.

“Through this new funding we will start the important work on a national vineyard register, promote Australian wine domestically, and put people in overseas markets like Japan and China to build trade relationships.

“These are initiatives that industry has been consistently calling for through the working group consultations, and we are delivering on them.”

Australian Grape & Wine welcomes initial funding, seeks additional support for long-term viability

Australian Grape & Wine (AGW) has welcomed yesterday’s announcement of $3.5 million in funding for the Grape and Wine Sector Long-term Viability Support Package, while stressing the need to do more.

“We are pleased with the government’s swift response to feedback received during the Viticulture and Wine Sector Working Group’s consultations,” said AGW CEO Lee McLean.

“The planned activities to boost demand, open new markets, provide better data, diversify products, and investigate competition and regulatory issues represent a modest investment towards addressing medium to long-term issues in our sector.”

However, McLean underscored the urgent need for solutions to the current supply and demand imbalance, red wine oversupply and increasing economic disadvantages in regional Australia.

“While these measures will support future policy and decision-making, immediate assistance for grape growers and winemakers remains critical. The long-term viability of our industry is essential to the economic success of communities across rural and regional Australia,” he said.

Australian Grape & Wine says it remains committed to constructive engagement with the government to address these challenges. The industry hopes to see additional investment when the final report of the Working Group is presented to government in July, reflecting the sector’s $45.5 billion contribution to the economy.

South Australia benefitting from wine exports to China

In a joint statement issued about the new support package, Ministers Farrell and Watt said that in just one month since duties were removed on bottled wine, Australia has exported over $86 million of quality wine to China.

“The majority of Australian wine exports to China are from South Australia,” the statement said.

“South Australian wine producers have exported almost $80 million of wine to China in the first month since duties were removed (92.1 per cent of Australia’s total wine exports to China).

“This is a great outcome for our wine producers, after three years of trade disruptions, along with natural disasters and global reductions in demand.

“To address this, we have supported the diversification of wine export markets and Federal, State and Territory Agriculture Ministers recently established the Viticulture and Wine Sector Working Group, to develop a nationally coordinated approach and provide advice on options to support the industry.

“The Working Group has consulted widely across the sector and the government has wasted no time in responding to the feedback it has received.”

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