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Thursday, 23 May 2013 00:00

Update from the Chair

Welcome to the May edition of the Wine Victoria (WV) newsletter. As our State and National Leaders are releasing their respective budgets, it is time to think about the government's agenda and the importance of advocacy. Recent events within the State Government have highlighted the value of a collaborative advocacy agenda for Victorian wineries and grape growers.

In an environment where governments are chasing every dollar saving they can find, it is becoming apparent that industry groups who stand up and advocate for their future will have the best chance of having an informed government to make the right decisions, not necessarily the expedient ones.

We have had a recent example of this when a decision was made to undertake an internal State Government review of the Victorian Cellar Door Subsidy – the WET rebate over and above the Commonwealths rebate received by large cellar door businesses. We were alerted to the possible review and removal of the rebate, and the wineries that were implicated were able to assist WV in preparing a strong submission in support of the tourism and related benefits of its retention. The outcome has been a very positive and constructive dialogue with government, and, we hope, a much higher probability of retention of the state rebate.

Of course, our issues go well beyond the state rebate and well beyond the Victorian Government. A Federal Government, is on the hunt for savings as is the Opposition. Inevitably reforms to wine taxation, as such the WET rebate will be in their sights. Our recent survey of Victorian wineries gives us some very powerful data to use in demonstrating the impact of a range of potential reforms to wine taxation.

WV has collected the views and likely impacts on our membership to ensure our national body, the Winemakers Federation of Australia (WFA), is aware of the outcomes of change. We hope the WFA can use this data in their advocacy efforts with the Federal Government, arguing for retention of the rebate or sensible reforms.

The WV Board has been working on a strategic plan that puts our advocacy agenda front and centre. A relatively small investment by industry in a coordinated strategy will enable us to build the arguments and relationships that will support a sustainable future for Victorian wineries and grape growers.