Feedback provided to the Australian Greens by many stakeholders in the Tasmanian wine industry, including the industry’s peak body, Wine Industry Tasmania (WIT), is they are concerned about Labor’s plans to incentivise the aggressive quadrupling of grape plantings in the state.
Whilst supporting the principle of schemes to drive new investment and jobs in the Tasmanian wine sector, Senator Peter Whish-Wilson stated any package of incentives to grow the Tasmanian wine industry must be grounded upon commercial realities.
“It should also be based on extensive consultations with existing wine industry stakeholders, rather than on the recommendations of a few consultants with vested interests in expansion. This package seems at odds with WIT’s 2012 budget submission.
“The Australian Greens have previously raised serious concerns, on behalf of wine industry stakeholders, about existing IGA grants provided to viticulture consultants advising forceful growth strategies for the industry. We will work with the wine industry to make sure all new schemes are efficient and that all interests are represented in future funding opportunities.
“Tasmania has largely avoided overplanting and overcapacity of wine grapes in the past, and the Greens don't want to see this becoming an issue in the state, especially for the large number of small boutique players in the industry who are often doing it tough.
"I take the future of this vibrant and important industry very seriously. As an owner-operator of a small family vineyard I have put my heart and soul into promoting the Tasmanian wine industry in the past 10 years.
"The Greens believe governments can play important roles in stimulating investment and jobs growth, for example by correcting market failures and investing in infrastructure, but how this applies to aggressively expanding the Tasmanian wine industry is not clear to us.
"A key area in which governments could assist smaller producers is via funding collaborative business and marketing arrangements, especially in relation to opening up new export markets.
The Australian Greens will be announcing their own economic plan next year, which will include targeted growth initiatives, especially for the large number of unique small businesses that underpin the Tasmanian tourism brand.”
To view WIT’s 2012 budget submission visit: