Senator Tammy Tyrrell is calling on the Federal Government to make clear what is happening with the Australian Wine Tourism and Cellar Door Grants.
This grants program has run for three years, with applications usually open on July 1. This year the applications have not opened, and the Government has not given an indication of whether the program will continue.
Senator Tyrrell says that because these grants are retrospective for sales in the previous financial year, Tasmanian wine producers are anxiously waiting to see if they will take a hit.
“These businesses are worth investing in. They put our tourist spots on the map. They win international awards for their wine. They bring in tourists and employ local people.”
“We can’t leave these businesses in limbo any longer. I understand the Government is doing an audit on all grants programs, but how long is a piece of string? These Tassie producers can’t continue to be left in the dark.”
“I’ve visited local vineyards. They’ve told me that without these grants, they might have to put off staff, or stop planned expansion.”
Fred Peacock is one of those operators. As the CEO of Bream Creek Vineyard, he is concerned about what the end of this grant program could mean for his business. Mr Peacock is currently building a cellar door near Marion Bay - an expansion that was planned with these grants in mind.
“At the time when we were planning this, and deciding also to commit to a very
large investment for a small company, that grant wasn’t under threat. Our financial planning has been done on the basis that that grant would be available.”
“To have this [lack of grants program] pop up half way through the build was quite disturbing.”
Mr Peacock says cellar doors promote visitors staying in rural areas longer, and that flows on to other local businesses in the area.
Senator Tyrrell says that even though the Government is keeping spending tight in the budget, these grants should remain.
*This media release was published on Monday 9th October 2022.