Wine fund changes leave a bad taste in the mouth
The Andrews Labor Government has short changed Victorian wineries by altering the eligibility criteria for producer’s licence holders funding.
State Liberal Member for Eildon, Cindy McLeish MP said this change will cause wineries to miss out on tens of thousands of dollars of desperately-needed financial support.
Future payments through the Licenced Hospitality Venue Fund will now be determined by patron caps on liquor licences, restricting larger cellar doors with bars, cafes and restaurants to the lowest form of financial support.
Ms McLeish said, “Wineries that can seat hundreds of patrons in their restaurant and cellar door are only eligible to receive $5,000 per week. In comparison, other licenced venues of a similar size can access $20,000 funding per week.”
Most wineries that hold a producer’s licence do not have patron caps identified, meaning larger cellar doors that can seat more than 500 people are eligible for just $5000 per week (for premises with capacity of 0-99 patrons or ‘patrons not specified’).
Leading industry body, Wine Victoria, is concerned the revised criteria will create disparity amongst membership and other Victorian hospitality providers, particularly those in regional Victoria.
Ms McLeish continues, “City centric Daniel Andrews continues to implement a one-size-fits-all approach, blatantly ignoring the unique requirements on Victorian hospitality venues.”
“The past two years have put the Victorian wine industry through the wringer, which is facing significant hardship after the Summer Bushfires, Chinese tariffs on Victorian wine and being plunged in and out of COVID-19 lockdowns and restrictions.”
“Hospitality, including wineries, need a plan form Daniel Andrews to reopen, rebuild and recover after Labor’s yo-yo lockdowns and restrictions. The industry needs support to ensure they are ready for when Victoria finally opens,” Ms McLeish concludes.