DROP THE SPIN THE AUSTRALIAN WINE INDUSTRY NEEDS REAL HELP NOW

Globally there are fewer wine drinkers and they are drinking less wine.  That is the cold hard reality facing the worlds wine regions and the communities they support.

It’s the reason the governments of France and the US are assisting growers in Bordeaux and the Napa Valley to restructure.

It’s the reason Australia has over two billion litres of wine in storage representing a sales to inventory ratio of 2.7, meaning that even if we didn’t pick a berry for more than two and a half years, we would still have wine to sell.

The global wine industry is in crisis. While other great wine nations of the world, and importantly their governments understand the crisis, last month’s Federal Budget confirms that the Albanese Labor Government either doesn’t or worse still, doesn’t care.

Instead, they remain steadfast in their attempts to hoodwink Australians into believing this global crisis was caused by the Chinese Communist Party’s illegal decision to introduce antidumping duties on Australian wine, effectively banning the export of Australian wine into China.

I believe Australian growers deserve the truth.  The stark reality is that improved terms of trade with China, or any trading nation for that matter, will not solve this crisis.

That is why I have been calling for more than 18 months for the Albanese Labor Government to step in and assist growers.  They need meaningful help and they needed it 18 months ago.  In response to my many calls for assistance Agriculture Minister Murray Watt directs me to the availability of Farm Household Allowance (FHA) which, while welcomed by eligible recipients no doubt, wont help the industry transition.

The FHA is a fortnightly payment intended to assist primary producers through temporary difficulties like price commodity shocks or drought, not situations like the one facing the Australian wine industry that involves a global structural disequilibrium.

That’s why I felt certain the Albanese Labor Government would heed the call of the industries peak national body Australian Grape and Wine and provide the financial support they sought on behalf of growers in the Federal Budget.

But that request has fallen on the same deaf ears as the requests I made previously.

Growers have a right to be angry at the Labor Government’s decision to turn their back on the wine industry.

Labor’s lack of action and worse their attempts to ‘spin’ the origin of this crisis and provide false hope with their rhetoric on China is an insult to the thousands of the multigenerational growers across our nation working their guts out to keep their businesses afloat.

Prime Minister Albanese and Minister Watt, drop the spin and help our wine grape growers now!

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