The lack of clear guidance on next steps with the Wine Tourism and Cellar Door Grant is causing concern and questions from industry.
Australian Grape & Wine is seeking urgent advice from the Australian Government about the status of the Wine Tourism and Cellar Door grants program. Under the program, producers who meet the eligibility criteria in the preceding financial year can apply for a grant payment of 29 per cent of the notional wholesale selling price of their eligible domestic cellar door sales (up to $100,000 (GST exclusive). Total funding under the grant program is currently capped at $10 million each financial year, but the program has been significantly over-subscribed since inception, with eligible producers receiving only about 60 per cent of what they are eligible to receive.
The Albanese Government is reviewing a broad range of programs initiated by the former Government ahead of the budget update this October. While these kinds of review are normal practice for a new Government we understand there is considerable concern about both the future of the program and the, critically, the status of grants relating to eligible cellar door sales made in the 2021/22 financial year. As these grants are retrospective in nature, eligible wine businesses had made financial decisions during the past financial year based on the knowledge that this grant program would be available following the financial year end. Applications would usually open on 1 July and close on 30 September, however there has been no timeframe confirmed for the 2021/22 applications as yet.
We have written to Ministers Watt and Farrell and a number of state and regional wine industry associations have also approached their local political representatives seeking clarity from the Government. We will keep members informed if and when we hear further detail about this program.