Scarcely a week has passed in recent months that this column has not featured an information piece about the WET Rebate debate that’s been raging. Riverland growers and winemakers have been collaborating for years to understand the complexities around wine taxes and do what can be done to ensure this region’s primary wealth generating industry emerges from the turmoil with flying colours; stronger, wiser, more competitive and better equipped for the new wine era. With the latest round of wine tax submissions due in Canberra on Friday this week, it’s timely to repeat a piece from this column published several months ago explaining just why it’s so important to fight this fight so relentlessly. It’s for our whole community.
Despite the crushing reality of global markets and the consequential hardships, Riverland growers and winemakers are digging deep, determined to re-establish the industry as the region’s number one wealth and employment generator. Resilience, perseverance and pride are some of the attributes that will enable the Riverland industry to prevail and strengthen its position as Australia’s preferred supplier of the grapes and wines the majority of wine consumers prefer!
Besides the challenges of wine markets, the industry must deal with aggressive competition from other sectors; beer and spirits. Those industries, mostly represented by international concerns, are constantly lobbying Government for tax reforms that will penalise the grape and wine industry.
Grape and wine producers from the Riverland are the nation’s number one source of funds for Research and Development of new and better ways to grow grapes that make quality wines.
The full page advertisement which was published earlier this year in The Murray Pioneer illustrates, to the broader community, just how significant the wine industry is, in terms of regional, State and national economies. It’s not all about profit. There is huge investment risk on the part of all growers and wine makers. Without grape and wine investments in the Riverland, this region would be much poorer and the entire industry’s R & D capabilities would be dramatically impacted. The industry’s competitive edge would be lost.
Review the infographic snapshot of how the wine industry supports regions, jobs and exports.