The recently released Senate report on the Australian grape and wine industry “recommends that the government significantly increase its funding to wine export market development”, noting “Australia's … marketing spend is a fraction of that spent by European competitor nations”.
A demand led recovery is the best solution to most challenges currently faced by the West Australian wine industry and export success is key to developing this demand. Wines of WA submitted to the inquiry that AGWA should assist in resourcing “an export development officer (EDO) based in Perth to provide support” for WA producers. Wines of Western Australia proposed that “in line with their Strategic Plan, the EDO would help the next 50 'hero brands' get market access – to open those doors that are difficult for small companies to open.”
The dissenting views presented in the report on the taxation of wine demonstrates the complexity of the issue. Wines of WA supports the current rebate mechanism via the ATO and any forced move to a grants scheme should not see any producer worse off through its implementation. The Winemakers’ Federation of Australia position on the WET rebate is supported by Senator Xenophon and provides a fully costed program to amend the current WET regime. In doing so, the savings gained would provide a net benefit to federal government revenue, some of which should be allocated to AGWA for export market development.
Additionally, the recent experience in WA where the State government removed the state-based cellar door rebate without prior consultation with producers, highlights the uncertainty of a grant scheme.
In the domestic market, transparency of ownership of brands through mandatory labelling requirements is supported. Consumers have a right to know who has made the wine they are drinking.
See the Winemakers’ Federation of Australia response here.