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Tuesday 14 May 2024

Wine industry group slams Australian Budget

A peak Australian wine industry body has slammed the 2024 Federal Budget delivered today.

Australian Grape & Wine condemned "the lack of assistance for grape growers and winemakers" in the Albanese Government’s Budget. 

It called it a "missed opportunity" that ignored the industry's pleas for urgent support.

"This Budget provides no relief for the serious challenges facing growers and winemakers in regional communities across much of Australia," said CEO Lee McLean. 

“The industry’s struggles are not the result of normal market fluctuations, but stem from factors outside the industry's control, including the loss of our largest export market [China] in 2020.”

McLean criticised the omission of the industry's "modest" pre-budget requests, including a $30 million sustainability package, $36 million for export assistance, and $20 million for domestic wine tourism.

"We made it crystal clear - many in regional wine communities across Australia are on their knees and need urgent government action to stop a bad situation from becoming a catastrophe," McLean said. 

“While China’s decision to lift import duties is positive, it will simply not resolve the issues facing growers and winemakers. 

 “The economic shock experienced by our industry has led to unsustainable prices for grapes, an oversupply of wine, and increasing economic disadvantage in regional Australia.

"It's a damning indictment of just how dire the situation is when the refund on an empty wine bottle is worth more than what many of our growers receive for the grapes that fill it.” 

Australian Grape and Wine Inc is the national association of grape and wine producers. 

Image: Deborah Middleton, 

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