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Task force to tackle wine woes

By Sunday 10 March 2024March 19th, 2024No Comments

A wine sector working group will be formed following a meeting of the commonwealth, state and territory Agriculture Ministers yesterday to address industry challenges.

The task force will include representatives of the commonwealth, state and territory governments, Wine Australia, Australian Grape & Wine and other relevant groups.

They will provide recommendations to Agriculture Ministers to address the challenges facing growers.

Australia has an oversupply of Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon, hitting growers hard in the inland regions as well as the Barossa, McLaren Vale and Langhorne Creek.

Growers in the Riverland have been offered prices for their fruit that is below the cost of production.

Many wine producers are also doing it tough with the cost of living – and the cost of doing business – hitting profitability.

A crisis meeting was held in Barmera where growers voiced their concerns about the viability of the local sector.

Growers were very critical of the lack of action from all levels of government.

“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,” AGW CEO Lee McLean says.

“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,” Mr McLean says.

“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.

“These proposals are all aimed at helping Australia’s grapegrowers and winemakers to find a pathway through the current challenges towards a sustainable and more profitable future.”

Ministers expect the working group to visit regions most impacted by the oversupply.

The group will report back by the end of April and then propose to Ministers actions to support improvement in the grape and wine sector and its long-term viability by July.

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