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THE wine sector has welcomed the introduction of a bill to progressively restore funding to Export Market Development Grants (EMDG).

The bill, titled the Export Market Development Grants Amendment Bill 2014, will provide an initial boost to the EMDG scheme of $50 million.

Winemakers Federation of Australia (WFA) chief executive Paul Evans commended the government on the introduction of this legislation.

“The EMDG program provides funding for the partial reimbursement of eligible export marketing expenditure for Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) exporters,” he said.

“These grants have been very important for our small and medium winemakers to enter new export markets and become self-sustaining exporters.”

WFA launched its actions for industry profitability 2014-2016 to position the country’s wine sector for growth in both domestic and export markets in December 2013.

The report comprises 43 specific actions in the key issue areas for industry including capturing the demand opportunity for Australian wine internationally, the wine and health debate, and working with national wine retailers on growing the category locally among consumers.

Evans said a key recommendation of this report was to encourage government to increase support for the EMDG program.

“We are delighted the Australian Government has worked so quickly to increase funding levels.”

Evans also commended the change to the scheme where an exporter who has received the maximum seven grants in the past, but whose export business had dried up due to the high exchange rate, will now be eligible to apply for an eighth grant to help try and recover those markets of up to $150,000.

“I urge all parties to get behind this bill and expand the EMDG scheme to help grow our export market share,” he said.

The multiplier effect of EMDG is well known, and the wine industry has had a major presence in the program, averaging around 250 recipients each year.

These grants have enabled many small and medium producers to develop and promote their products effectively.

Contact: Paul Evans, chief executive, WFA. Phone: 61 0404 447 190.