Even if you are not one for meetings, this one is important. Riverland winegrowers need to be there in numbers. The Wine Grape Council is coming to town with a roadshow. There will be plenty of guest speakers to discuss future outlooks on a range of topics but most importantly, the Council Chair, Heather Webster and Business Manager Lisa Bennier will present the case for an overhaul of the State Council contribution rate.
Contributions from growers in all regions have remained at $1 dollar per tonne since 2007 when the council was incorporated. It was always intended to provide sufficient funds for the Council and the national growers’ organisation, Australian Vignerons to advocate policy in State and federal forums on wide ranging issues that affect grape and wine industry profitability. The proposal being put on the table by Heather and Lisa is for the contribution rate to be changed to a fairer method, where it’s calculated as a proportion of farmgate income, similar to the Riverland’s contribution scheme.
The reason it’s so important is that the Riverland has contributed roughly 60% of the total fund every year since 2007 while the region has received less just 30% or thereabouts of winegrapes income over that period. That has been unfair but it’s also meant the fund has not collected enough to reasonably operate the State Council and the national grower’s body, Australian Vignerons. Other states don’t contribute much if anything to Australian Vignerons and, as a consequence both peak advocacy bodies simply don’t have sufficient resources to operate effectively.
By switching to an advalorem rate (percentage of farmgate income) the Riverland contribution will remain at about the same level, around $1 per tonne but the total contribution across the state will improve very substantially; so much so that the State Council and the Federal body would have much greater operational capability. The same proposal will be put to the other regions throughout SA. If enough growers support the proposal then the scheme will be much fairer and the Council will have much greater capacity to provide strong advocacy.
So, please make the time to come along to the Loxton Research Centre on Friday, April 27 at 1pm to meet the State Council, learn about the industry outlook and vote for a fairer contribution system.
Visit the WGCSA website to register and see the agenda with details of guest speakers.