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Government explains Budget snub

By Saturday 25 May 2024No Comments

WBM asked the office of Federal Agriculture Minister Murray Watt why the Australian wine industry was snubbed in the Budget. They provided the following statement.

 

Winegrowing regions like the Riverland, as well as Murray Valley and Riverina have faced challenges in recent years – natural disasters, Covid-19, freight and supply chain issues, changes in consumer preferences and the effective closure of the Chinese market under the former Coalition Government.

Through the Albanese Government’s consistent advocacy to stabilise the relationship with China and negotiate an expedited review of tariffs, we secured the removal of all duties on imports of Australian bottled wine.

The Budget includes $2 million for Austrade to provide additional surge support for affected Australian agricultural exporters to re-establish commercial connections in China and continue to diversify into other markets.

It also provides $487.9 million over the forward estimates for the continuation of Austrade’s Export Market Development Grant (EMDG) Program, which assists small to medium enterprises to market and promote their goods and services globally.

This builds on the Government’s efforts to drive long-term, sustainable demand for Australian wine through market diversification and expansion, including through $3.3 million to support industry in exploring new markets and the promotion of Australian wine abroad, under the Agricultural Trade and Market Access Cooperation (ATMAC) program and two grants totalling $1.1 million to the Australian Food and Wine Collaboration Group of which Wine Australia is a member.

Australia’s grape and wine sector will also benefit from a range of new and ongoing measures in the 2024-25 Budget. These include:

• $40 million over the forward estimates for Wine Tourism and Cellar Door Grant Program to support wine businesses to invest in their cellar doors and encourage agritourism.

• Ongoing Commonwealth matched Research and Development (R&D) funding to Wine Australia to ensure we have the best possible evidence to support the industry’s biggest challenges. Over $9 million will be provided in 2024-25.

• $83.2 million for the next phase of the Future Drought Fund’s Farm Business Resilience program, which the wine industry can access to build their skills and capacity to manage all kinds of risks, including drought and climate change.

• $302 million for the Climate-Smart Agriculture Program, which provides assistance for the agriculture sector to adopt sustainable agriculture practices, including in the wine industry. The wine industry has utilised this ongoing investment over a number of years.

• $641.4 million for small businesses including energy bill relief of $325, extending the $20,000 instant asset write-off and supporting mental health and financial wellbeing of small business owners.

Other assistance provided before the 2024-25 Budget

Earlier this year Australia’s Agriculture Ministers established a Viticulture and Wine Working Group to inform national decision making in this space, and this work in ongoing.

The Albanese Government also recognises that building our exports market is only one part of the equation, and has worked alongside the State Government to support growers and providers domestically.

Our Government has provided support for the industry to draw on through the tough times, including through the Farm Household Allowance, concessional loans, rural financial counselling, mental health support and the tax incentives that have allowed farmers to put away nearly $6 billion in Farm Management Deposits.

The Government has been ensuring grapegrowers have the right tools and information to make informed business decisions:

• Provided almost $1 million under the Perishable Agricultural Goods grant program:

• New winegrape and wine reporting from ABARES as part of the ongoing Agricultural Commodities report.

• Wine Australia grape price indicator dashboard for growers to access market information and trends.

• Industry-owned domestic sales dataset of price and volume information on wholesale wine sales.

• The Growstrong Program provides Riverland grapegrowers with subsidised learning and development opportunities in strategic business management, farm risk management and decision-making, natural resource management, and personal and social resilience.

The Government has been supporting innovation in the wine and grape sector to develop new products:

• $2.9 million in Cooperative Research Centres Projects (CRC-P) grant funding to produce industry-focused research on improving Australian no-and low-alcohol wines that exceed consumer expectations.

• $1.1 million in Business Research and Innovation Initiative grant funding to assist Wine Australia to develop innovative solutions to increase the sustainability of the wine sector through pursuing alternative methods of packaging for premium Australian wine.

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