Announcement to nowhere: Feds wine export “assistance” utterly unimpactful

The Opposition has taken aim at the Albanese Government for their recently announced Grape and Wine Sector Long-term Viability Support Package.

The package, which spreads the funding across the entirety of Australia, states it 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.”

Shadow Minister for Primary Industries, Nicola Centofanti, said while any funding to assist growers is welcomed, it’s a drop in the bucket compared to the size of the challenges the industry has faced.

“We welcome the $3.5 million in funding to provide growers with better data, it is a start. However, it is a small start and nowhere near the reality of what the industry has been calling for,” Dr Centofanti said.

“Many growers I have spoken with do not see how $3.5 million can cover all that was announced in a meaningful way for everyone facing issues in the sector. They don’t see how it can be impactful.

“The Opposition has been listening to the industry, and winegrape growers have been waiting for support for a long time.

“The State and Federal Labor Governments must work together on the kinds of support packages that I, Australian Grape & Wine, and other industry bodies have put forward, not invent something that barely skims the surface.

“I wrote to the SA’s Primary Industries Minister, Clare Scriven, twelve months ago, offering her the opportunity to discuss our land diversification policy, which was written in conjunction with local industry.

“Yet Clare Scriven chose to sit on her hands and wait to see what crumbs her federal colleagues would offer SA winegrape growers. Well, now we know it is nothing like what the industry has asked for. Our growers need genuine support, and they need support now.”

Shadow Minister for Trade and Investment, Tim Whetstone, said even though China has lifted its hefty tariffs on Australian wine, it doesn’t mean the industry’s economic woes are over.

“Unfortunately, the China market will never be what it once was and we must support those in the South Australian wine industry to diversify so it doesn’t collapse,” Mr Whetstone said.

“Both Federal and State Labor must do more to help industry access new trading partners and assist growers diversify and put other commodities into the mix so they’re not completely reliant on winegrapes.

“The current support package is a starting point, but it must be swiftly followed by more substantial commitments to ensure long-term viability and growth in our wine industry.”


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