After months of deliberation Minister for Agriculture, Barnaby Joyce this week announced the appointment of the acting chair and board of directors for the new Australian Grape and Wine Authority (AGWA). The authority commenced operations on July 1.
Many industry insiders have been perplexed through the process of consultation leading to the announcement. However, the appointment of Brian Walsh as chair of the interim board of acting directors has been very well received, particularly in the Riverland. Brian has been the independent chair of Riverland Wine since March 2013 and has provided outstanding leadership and guidance for this wine region.
The new authority has been established following a proposal by the Winemakers Federation Australia (WFA) and Wine Grape Growers Australia (WGGA). It brings together the research and development functions and the marketing and export regulation functions previously handled by the Grape and Wine Research and Development Corporation (GWRDC) and the Wine Australia Corporation (WAC).
The Minister has appointed the board of acting directors for three months to enable the setup of the new authority. Brian Croser AO from South Australia is one of the interim board members. He is well known for his previous role as president of WFA and his strong contribution to the industry over many years. Other members of the interim board include: Eliza Brown, John Casella, John Forrest, Ian Henderson, Janice McDonald and Kim Williams AM.
Riverland Wine has enjoyed strong working relationships with members of the boards and management of the two former authorities. While there will be some changes within both organisations it will be business as usual for Riverland Wine. The organisation will work to support a smooth transition and build even stronger ties to the new authority to ensure this region benefits from the R, D & E programs and marketing initiatives offered by the new authority.