It’s common sense when far-reaching changes to custom and practice are deemed necessary for the common good, that key representatives come together, debate issues openly and rigorously, reach a consensus, then make unambiguous, practical recommendations to those who can implement the necessary arrangements.
Industry bodies, led by the Winemakers Federation agonized for many months, secured statements in support of their agreed position from regional bodies across the country, State-based organisations and Wine Grape Growers Australia (WGGA) then proceeded to Canberra, confident that the element of common sense would prevail and the proposed policy reforms would be examined, embraced and implemented as part of the Federal Government’s May 2015 Budget.
The consternation expressed by Wine industry statesman and Riverland exemplar John Angove, when word came that the proposals were not to be adopted was echoed across the country. John said, “In four decades of involvement with the wine industry, he had never witnessed such a degree of unity as that which had recently been achieved by the WFA over the WET Rebate policy reform position”.
Riverland Wine stood shoulder to shoulder with the Federation to directly lobby Assistant Treasurer Frydenberg in the first week of May. This was a last ditch attempt to influence the Treasurer on behalf of all industry but especially the Riverland stakeholders who are bearing much of the brunt of this poor policy. Riverland Wine Business Manager Andrew Weeks has devoted much of his time to simplifying the issues and encouraging other parties to understand the perverse impacts of poor policy saying “ These impacts the direct result of poor policy, not bad people. It’s simple. It’s policy reform that’s needed, not policemen”.