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Australia appoints task force to tackle wine glut

Australia’s wine sector has welcomed a government-backed task force to help “rebalance supply, grow demand and boost regional tourism” in the face of oversupply and financial pressures.

Australia appoints task force to tackle wine glut
farmer and his dog amongst the grape vines

President Anthony Albanese’s government has announced the formation of a viticulture and wine sector working group following a meeting of the Commonwealth, state and territory agriculture ministers on Saturday (9 March).

Industry organisations Wine Australia and Australian Grape and Wine will work alongside representatives of the Commonwealth, state and territory governments, and other relevant groups as agreed by the working group to make up the task force.

The goal is to provide recommendations to agriculture ministers to address the challenges facing growers.

Australian Grape & Wine has been encouraging a coordinated and collaborative approach to deal with the
challenges our sector is facing and we are pleased Ministers have agreed to form this working group” said

Australian Grape & Wine CEO Lee McLean said he was pleased that ministers had agreed to form the working group. According to him, Australian Grape & Wine has already put a range of options to the Albanese government ahead of the Federal Budget,
including proposals to help rebalance supply, grow demand and boost regional tourism.

“We know there are a number of regions experiencing acute financial pressure as a result of supply and demand imbalances, including the Riverland in South Australia, the Riverina in NSW, and the Murray Valley in Victoria, and it’s pleasing the group will focus on ways we can work together to relieve these pressures, in these regions,” McLean said.

Oversupply of Australian wine was triggered in part by China’s punitive tariffs on exports in 2020, and the challenges have continued since then. The two countries are predicted to strike a deal to end the tariffs as early as the end of this month, but it could still take a number of years for the wine industry in Australia to return to normal after the long-term disruptions to trading.

Ministers expect the working group to visit regions most impacted by the oversupply situation. The group is required to report back by the end of April 2024.

By July, the group is expected to propose to ministers actions to support improvement in the grape and wine sector and its long-term viability.

McLean said the formation of the group was a “reflection of the strong working relationship Australian Grape & Wine has
developed with the Australian Government”, and said the collaborative work of government and industry bodies would “drive a positive agenda in the best interests of grape and wine businesses”.

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