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Treasury backs push for funds for inland growers

By Wednesday 1 May 2024No Comments

Treasury Wine Estates (TWE) is joining forces with major players in the Australian wine industry to urge the Federal Government to ease the plight of winegrowers across inland regions who continue to suffer from an oversupply of commercial red winegrapes.

Australian Grape and Wine (AGW) recently wrote to Treasurer Jim Chalmers outlining a submission to support the Australian wine industry ahead of the Federal Budget.

The letter, co-signed by TWE and other leading wine producers including Taylors, Angove, De Bortoli, Casella, Hill-Smith Family Estates, Calabria, Pernod-Ricard Winemakers and Berton Vineyards, calls for an $86 million investment that addresses three critical areas:

• Provide a sustainability support package to help affected growers adapt to more sustainable practices, transition to a more profitable crop, or make the difficult decision to exit the sector;

• Help the wine industry diversify into new export markets beyond China; and

• Drive domestic tourism to grapegrowing regions to inject much-needed revenue into struggling communities.

TWE says compounding factors including recent trade challenges, climate change impacts, and changing consumer preferences have resulted in commercial grape profitability hitting historic lows and leaving commercial wine growers – particularly in inland regions such as Riverina, Riverland and Murray Darling – with no choice but to exit the industry.

TWE CEO Tim Ford highlighted the global context of the challenges facing Australian commercial winegrowers, pointing out that governments worldwide have implemented significant support packages to assist winegrowers facing similar issues.

“The challenges facing commercial wine growers in Australia are not unique,” Mr Ford says.

“Governments around the world, including those in countries such as Chile, the United States and France, have taken decisive action to provide support packages running into the hundreds of millions of dollars to alleviate similar burdens on wine growers in recent years.

“Without the appropriate level of government support, Australia’s inland commercial wine growers and their communities are facing a future of continued uncertainty and hardship.”

AGW CEO Lee McLean emphasised the current plight of commercial growers will extend to Australia’s broader $45 billion wine industry without immediate government assistance to boost regional tourism and help Australian wine break into new global markets.

“We are at a critical point where the Australian wine industry needs immediate investment to ensure its survival,” Mr McLean says.

“We encourage the government to implement these measures in the 2024-25 Federal Budget to alleviate some of the pressure our grapegrowers and winemakers are experiencing.”

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