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Saturday 29 June 2024

NSW wine industry slams lack of support from state government

The New South Wales wine industry has long complained about a lack of support from local restaurants and government agencies.

Despite there being a wide variety of wine styles available from within the state; from regions ranging from the Hunter Valley to Orange, the Hilltops to Tumbarumba, NSW wines are often noticeably absent from local lists.

Earlier this week, NSW Wine Executive Officer Matthew Jessop and board member Geoff Krieger, the Brokenwood CEO, fronted an inquiry into the "procurement practices of NSW government agencies and its impact on the social development of the people of NSW".

Through its own procurement, whether that is at government-owned, operated or leased venues or at sponsored events, the NSW Government continues to buy more international and interstate wine than it does local wine, NSW Wine said in a statement.

It said: "Currently, NSW taxpayer-funded venues and money does more to support interstate and international wine producers than it does our own local businesses and regional communities.

"That is why in the lead-up to the 2023 NSW state election, NSW Wine sought a commitment from all parties to establish a 'NSW First' wine procurement policy targeting 100% NSW wine in all NSW Government-owned, leased and tendered venues, plus events sponsored using NSW taxpayers' money.

NSW Wine president Mark Bourne said: "The industry believes this is an opportunity for the NSW Government to show leadership to the whole of NSW.

"Our state produces world-class wines that deserve to be showcased at every government-affiliated event and venue. By implementing a 'Buy NSW' policy we can boost our local economy, support regional communities, and proudly present the best of NSW to visitors and residents alike."

Since the last election NSW Wine has been advocating to all levels of government and calling on the Minns Labor Government to support a 'NSW First' procurement policy that would see all government-owned venues and events connected to the NSW Government prioritise its own businesses first.

It says: "This government has so far failed to take any meaningful steps to establish a policy despite it having nil effects on the states budget and overwhelming positive effects for NSW businesses and the economy.

"Across venues, events and where it provides sponsorship and support, the NSW Government has significant buying power. Not only could the NSW Government, directly and indirectly, become one of the NSW wine industry's biggest customers, it could, and should, be our biggest supporter shining a light on our world-class producers and 16 unique wine regions.

"International or domestic visitors to Sydney should not sit at iconic venues like the Sydney Opera House drinking a glass of imported Italian Prosecco when they could be drinking award-winning local sparkling from Orange, Tumbarumba or the Southern Highlands."

An exception is the International Convention Centre (ICC) Sydney, which has a 100% NSW wine policy.

"The inquiry gave NSW Wine another opportunity to have this policy put on record and compel the government to finally act and do what is best for NSW, best for our regions and best for the NSW wine industry," the group said in a statement.

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