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NEWS - Barnaby speaking

The $50m package was launched on August 28. Credit: Camellia Aebischer

Legislation enacted today will help deliver an ambitious $50 million, three-year plan to increase the value of wine exports up to $2.8–2.9 billion and bring $170 million worth of wine tourism to regional communities.

“The legislation gives Wine Australia the authority to manage grants and programs aimed at bringing 40,000 more international visitors to Australia per year to visit wine regions,” said Anne Ruston, assistant minister for Agriculture and Water Resources.

The legislation formally changes the name of the authority from the Australian Grape and Wine Authority to Wine Australia.

“It also gives Wine Australia the authority to implement and facilitate programs to transform the cider industry, by building knowledge of potential export markets and developing improved understanding for accessing these markets.”

Ruston said Australia’s wine sector had enjoyed significant success in recent years following on market access gains, with exports to mainland China up 56 per cent year on year at the close of September 2017, but there was potential to grow exports even further.

The legislation does not in other ways affect the operations of Wine Australia, other than simplifying the organisation’s name and giving it the power to fully manage the $50 million Export and Regional Wine Support Package.

Update on 27 October:

The Winemakers’ Federation of Australia has welcomed legislative changes which give the Australian Grape and Wine Authority (AGWA) the ability to administer tourism grants for the first time.

Federation Chief Executive Tony Battaglene said this was an important step in the implementation of the $50 million Export and Regional Wine Support Package announced in the 2016 Budget as part of broad industry reforms to strengthen the integrity of the Wine Equalisation Tax system.

The Federation, Australian Vignerons and AGWA collaborated to develop the business plan to direct funding towards specific program areas including a grants scheme to benefit international tourism in regional Australia.

“These changes will help us to hit the ground running in implementing this historic demand strategy,” Mr Battaglene said. “We now look forward to the first annual operating plan, working collaboratively to grow demand and tourism supporting the Australian wine sector.”

Mr Battaglene explained the legislative amendments also officially change the name of AGWA to Wine Australia.