Following a meeting of the Commonwealth, State and Territory Agriculture Ministers on Friday 8 March, it has been announced that a viticulture and wine sector working group will be established to address the challenges facing growers.

The formation of the wine industry taskforce will comprise representatives of the Commonwealth, state and territory governments, Wine Australia, Australian Grape & Wine and other relevant groups, and closely monitor the current oversupply of grapes.

Lee McLean, CEO of Australian Grape & Wine, has welcomed the announcement: “Australian Grape & Wine has been encouraging a coordinated and collaborative approach to deal with the challenges our sector ifs facing and we are pleased Ministers have agreed to form this working group.”

Acknowledging the significant challenges faced by wine grape growers, especially in inland regions, Ministers expect that the working group will visit regions most impacted by oversupply.

The group is set to report back to Agriculture Ministers by the end of April and propose actions that will support improvement in the grape and wine sector and its long-term viability by July.

“We know there are a number of regions experiencing acute financial pressure as a result of supply and demand imbalances, including the Riverland in South Australia, the Riverina in NSW, and the Murray Valley in Victoria, and it’s pleasing the group will focus on ways we can work together to relieve these pressures, in these regions,” added McLean.

“Australian Grape & Wine has put a range of options to the Albanese Government ahead of the Federal Budget, including proposals to help rebalance supply, grow demand and boost regional tourism.

“These proposals are all aimed at helping Australia’s grape growers and winemakers to find a pathway through the current challenges towards a sustainable and more profitable future.

“The formation of this working group is a reflection of the strong working relationship Australian Grape & Wine has developed with the Australian Government. We look forward to working with Ministers, officials and other industry representatives to drive a positive agenda in the best interests of grape and wine businesses,” he concluded.

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