A report in the Grapegrower and Winemaker magazine this month alleges that South Australian senator Sean Edwards has caused ructions in the wine industry by writing a letter to Assistant Treasurer Josh Frydenberg, refuting the position advocated by the Winemakers’ Federation of Australia in regard to WET rebate reform. This proposal intended to remove the perverse impacts caused by rebates paid on bulk and unbranded wine which conspire to keep wine prices and corresponding grape prices low. Retained savings from the measure were to be used toward improving marketing efforts to aid industry recovery.
Riverland wine industry participants may be aware that Riverland Wine supported this move, and was joined by Wine Grape Growers Australia, SAWIA, Wines of WA, Riverina and Murray Valley wine regions, and state wine industry bodies from Victoria, Tasmania, NSW and Queensland. A long-term local industry member commented that such industry unity had not been evident in his forty years in the industry.
The article in Grapegrower and Winemaker alleges that the current federal government, which is interested in achieving budget savings, was initially supportive of the strongly unified industry position, but changed their position. It mentions hostile reaction toward Senator Edwards from some industry members who want to see industry recovery, and a return to viable wine and grape prices. The article can be read in the current Grapegrower and Winemaker magazine, or online