The Weatherill Labor Government must review its process to assist in promoting South Australian wine overseas to remain competitive and provide a much needed boost for the state’s wine exports.
The Senate Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport References Committee has today established an inquiry into the Australian wine industry to examine issues such as legislation and regulation, potential market failure, representation and levies, the power of large retailers and the wine equalisation tax rebate.
Shadow Minister for Investment and Trade Tim Whetstone said he welcomed the inquiry at a time when the wine industry faces a number of challenges.
“In the past, much of South Australia’s wine has been positioned at the bulk end of the sector but our ability to produce premium fine wines must be better promoted,” Mr Whetstone said.
“With newly penned Free Trade Agreements and an improving Australian dollar, now is the time for the wine industry to take opportunities to significantly increase overseas marketing.
“The European Union provided $522 million for wine promotion between 2009 and 2013. In comparison, Australia spends less than $10 million per year on generic wine promotion.
“The Riverland alone produces more than 60% of South Australia’s wine grapes and would benefit greatly from better marketing of our product.
”The State Government needs to be on the front foot when it comes to providing further resources to market the state’s fine wines.”
Mr Whetstone said the wine industry is undertaking a period of change in a bid to become more sustainable and increasing exports is a key element.
“Another area in which South Australia must improve its commitment is in the area of investment in research and development in the wine industry,” Mr Whetstone said.
“Opportunities to further market South Australian wines into new and existing export markets cannot be underestimated and this inquiry will highlight key areas of improvement for the wine industry across all levels of government.”