Wine Australia given $50m grants ‘green light’

30 October, 2017 by Andy Young

Australia’s wine industry has welcomed the legislation changes which will help with the ability to administer the Government’s $50m Export and Regional Wine Support Package.

The three-year plan aims to increase the value of wine exports up to $2.8–2.9bn and bring $170m worth of wine tourism to regional communities. The changes give the Australian Grape and Wine Authority (AGWA) the ability to administer the tourism grants for the first time and also officially changes the name of AGWA to Wine Australia.

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Winemakers’ Federation of Australia Chief Executive, Tony Battaglene, welcomed the changes, saying it was an important step in the implementation of support package.

The Federation, Australian Vignerons and AGWA collaborated to develop the business plan to direct funding towards specific program areas including a grants scheme to benefit international tourism in regional Australia.

“These changes will help us to hit the ground running in implementing this historic demand strategy,” Battaglene said. “We now look forward to the first annual operating plan, working collaboratively to grow demand and tourism supporting the Australian wine sector.”

Andrew Weeks, Chief Executive of Australian Vignerons, also welcomed the changes, saying: “We look forward to working collaboratively with WFA and Wine Australia to deliver this package to benefit the whole wine sector.”

Assistant Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources Anne Ruston said Australia’s wine sector had enjoyed significant success in recent years following on market access gains, with exports to mainland China up 56 per cent year on year at the close of September 2017, but there was potential to grow exports even further.

“The legislation gives Wine Australia the authority to manage grants and programs aimed at bringing 40,000 more international visitors to Australia per year to visit wine regions,” Minister Ruston said.

“It also gives Wine Australia the authority to implement and facilitate programs to transform the cider industry, by building knowledge of potential export markets and developing improved understanding for accessing these markets.”

The legislation does not in other ways affect the operations of Wine Australia, other than simplifying the organisation’s name and giving it the power to fully manage the $50 million Export and Regional Wine Support Package.