After a tumultuous few years for the Hunter wine industry, it is crucial the new Labor Government continue the Wine Tourism and Cellar Door grants according to NSW Senator, Perin Davey.
Senator Davey said local wine producers were in the dark about the future of the grants with the Government’s response to questions in Parliament described as vague at best.
“The grant round previously opened on July 1 and closed on September 30 but this year there is no clarity and the delay is causing anxiety among wine producers in the Hunter,” she said.
“Around 15 local wine producers have benefitted from the grants in past years with those who met the eligibility criteria in the preceding financial year were able to access an annual grant of up to $100,000.
“As a retrospective program, grants would relate to cellar door sales and financial decisions made in the 2021-2022 financial year, making it even more important for businesses to access the grants as soon as possible,” Senator Davey said.
Senator Davey said wine producers in the Hunter had faced the triple whammy of smoke taint after the 2019-20 bushfires, COVID shutting down tourism in 2020-21, and the continuing La Nina weather events impacting production.
“This grant was specifically designed to encourage more wine tourism and job creation. Any further delay in delivery of the grants will continue to cause unnecessary stress and uncertainty for businesses and families,” she said.
Senator Davey calls for the grant to continue and have been backed by Shadow Agriculture Minister, David Littleproud, who is urging the Government to open the program as soon as possible.
“Putting a cork in these grants would harm our great wine and cider industry,” Mr Littleproud said.
“We want to toast to the industry, not destroy it, and we will work with Labor to ensure its success.”