Australia’s spirits industry has widely welcomed the Federal Government’s announcement of a $2.6m grant to explore the potential of blockchain technology to enhance the productivity and competitiveness of the food and beverage sector.

Spirits and Cocktails Australia Chief Executive Greg Holland said: “This grant provides a great opportunity for the spirits industry to be at the forefront of testing the viability of blockchain to solve the challenges associated with excise payment processes and compliance.

“The project offers the potential form the foundations of new regulations and policies which can transform the food and beverage industry.”

The Minister for Industry, Science and Technology Christian Porter MP confirmed the ‘Convergence’ consortium would receive the grant to pilot a program to leverage blockchain technology to automate key reporting processes under the excise system to reduce compliance costs associated with the creation, storage and transportation of Australian spirits.

The Convergence consortium comprises leading tax specialists from KPMG Australia, and digital transformation and blockchain experts Converge.tech.

Australian Distillers Association Industry & Government Engagement lead Paul McLeay said: “The ADA looks forward to collaborating with Convergence to contribute subject matter expertise to the project and support the research and adoption of the product through our members.

“We are proud to partner with Convergence.Tech and KPMG who have the technical blockchain skills and excise taxation expertise to successfully deliver this pilot.”

Alcohol Beverages Australia Chief Executive Andrew Wilsmore also welcomed the announcement, saying: “This project offers a unique opportunity to deliver on the goals outlined in Alcohol Beverage Australia’s Vision for Industry 2030  to gauge the effectiveness of blockchain technology to meet the demands of modern manufacturing in the digital age.

“We look forward to seeing the results of the pilot to understand the potential benefits for the broader alcohol industry.”

The grant is funded under the Australian Government’s Digital Business package, which was announced in the Federal Budget 2020-21, and aligns with the Government’s National Blockchain Roadmap, which was released in February 2020.

Andy Young

Andy joined Intermedia as Editor of TheShout in 2015, writing news on a daily basis and also writing features for National Liquor News. Now Managing Editor of both TheShout and Bars and Clubs.

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