The recent ABC Four Corners program 'Cash Splash' has ignited debate over the Murray Darling Basin plan. Many different stakeholders have written detailed responses to the program which many argue has portrayed an unbalanced view of the plan.
As part of WGCSA's membership of Primary Producers SA we have a Natural Resources Management liaison. She has put together a detailed collection of the articles and letters written in response to the Four Corners report.
From the NFF statement:
At no point during the 45 minutes of television was reference made to the fact that since 2012 the Plan had returned 2100 gigalitres of water to the river system with almost 700GL coming from efficiency and infrastructure projects. ... Or that the majority of efficiency projects were not carried out by large corporate farms but family farming operations with works valued at, on average, less than $152,000.
Ms Simson said little to no focus was given to the fact that farmers were required to sell water entitlements to the Government, i.e. return water to the environment, in order to access the infrastructure efficiency program. Therefore providing a net water gain to the environment.
"And absolutely no mention was made of the tough scrutiny that applications to access the programs are subject to or the milestone reporting and random 'spot checks' that are carried out by the Australian National Audit Office."
Ms Simson said the program also grossly misrepresented how the water trading system worked.
"There are no new water entitlements. When new dams are built or new crops are planted, water must be purchased from the market – in other words, from other farmers."
"And currently, because much of the Basin is in drought, there are no allocations available for farmers or the environment."
To read the open letter from the scientists, click here.
A presentation from ACCC Deputy Chairman Mick Keogh at the 2019 Australian Wine Industry Technical Conference started so many conversations around me that it's obvious that the topic of contract terms is a hot issue at the moment.
During his presentation, Mick Keough took aim at contract terms. Darren Gray reports in the Sydney Morning Herald, 'Mr Keogh urged those in the audience who thought extended payment terms were justified, to consider the somewhat radical "proposal" he outlined.
"As a wine consumer, I think I should be able to select a bottle of wine off the shelf, and decide what it’s worth. I pay one-third of that when I leave the store.
"I'll pay a second one-third payment in six months, and I'll pay the balance when I get around to drinking it, which could be years in the future," he said.
"If you think this is a ridiculous proposal, then perhaps you need to reflect that this is essentially how the current contract and payment terms operate for wine grape growers," Mr Keogh told the crowd at the Australian Wine Industry Technical Conference in Adelaide.
Our National body, Australian Grape & Wine (AGW), has written a submission to the ACCC's interim report which you can read here. We welcome AGW's proactive approach to the report and their detailed submission which will be taken into account for the final report from the ACCC.
So what’s the Wine Grape Council of SA's role in wine grape contracts? As contracts are a commercial agreement, we cannot provide advice or advocate on growers' behalf. However, our website has a wealth of information, including a great guide on how to sell grapes written by Viticulturist Dr Mary Retallack, to assist growers with selling their grapes.
The biggest thing that hit me during Mick Keogh's presentation was the need for transparency and this is something that Australian Grape and Wine has also echoed.
As always, we would love to hear your thoughts. Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org if you have something, you'd like to share about payment terms for wine grapes.
From 31 August 2019, labour hire providers (including vineyard contracting providers, picking and pruning gangs) must be licensed under the South Australian Labour Hire Licensing Act 2017 when performing "labour hire services".
Providers and clients of can be subject to a $400,000 penalty and/or 3 year imprisonment when in breach of their obligations.
The South Australian Wine Industry Association are running a number of briefings across the state to help the wine industry prepare.
This practical briefing designed for wine industry employers (wine producers, vineyard owners and wine grape growers) and providers of vineyard contracting services will assist you in being across your new obligations and minimise the risk of penalties.
The following key topics will be covered:
FEEL FREE TO INVITE YOUR CONTRACTOR/PROVIDER TO REGISTER
BAROSSA: Wed 24 Jul, 9am-11.30am (The Vine Inn, 14-22 Murray St, Nuriootpa)
ADELAIDE HILLS: Thur 25 Jul, 9am-11.30am (The Manna, Business Centre, 25 Mount Barker Rd, Hahndorf)
LANGHORNE CREEK: Mon 29 Jul, 9am-11.30am, (Langhorne Creek Hub, 79 Bridge Rd, Langhorne Creek)
COONAWARRA: Thur 1 Aug, 9am-11.30am (The Stables, Katnook Estate, Riddoch Hwy, Coonawarra)
RIVERLAND: Thur 8 Aug, 9am-11.30am, (Berri Hotel, Riverview Dr, Berri)
MCLAREN VALE: Wed 14 Aug, 9am-11.30am (McLaren Vale Tourism Centre, 796 Main Rd, McLaren Vale)
CLARE: Thur 15 Aug, 12-2.30pm, (Mr Mick's Cellar Door and Restaurant, 7 Dominic St, Clare)
To find out more, or book, click the button below.
Are you prepared for Labour Licensing Act to be enforced?
After much uncertainty, the South Australian Government announced on 7 June that the Labour Hire Licensing Act (the Act) will be enforced from 31 August 2019 after motions to repeal the Act failed in the Legislative Council.
Consumer and Business Services announced the news and will be responsible to managing and enforcing the new labour hire requirements. Applications for licenses will open on 14 June 2019.
The South Australian Wine Industry Association has put together a notice for WGCSA members outlining all of the changes and what will be required once the Act is in place.
SAWIA Notice to WGCSA Members
The South Australian Wine Industry Association (SAWIA) took the lead arguing for sensible and practical changes to the licensing scheme since it was introduced by the former State Government. Through our advocacy SAWIA was able to obtain a number of important improvements to the Act. SAWIA supported the Marshall State Government’s repeal legislation and given the number of fundamental issues remaining with the Act, continues to advocate for the legislation to be repealed.
The Act establishes a licensing scheme for providers of “labour hire services” and makes it unlawful for clients, including wineries and wine grape growers, to engage unlicensed providers of “labour hire services”.
THE ACT: KEY PROVISIONS
- A licence will be required where:
- A provider applying for licensing must demonstrate they are a “fit and proper person”, including
compliance with 13 different laws and prior business experience.
- A provider must upon application pay the $1,788 application fee (less for a natural person
registering) and thereafter the $1,226 annual licensing fee (less for a natural person).
- A public register of current licensees and applicants will be available online via CBS.
BREACHES OF THE ACT
WHAT YOU NEED TO DO
LABOUR HIRE BRIEFING SESSIONS
To assist wine industry employers, including grape growers, in complying with the Act, SAWIA will be
running briefing sessions across South Australia’s wine regions commencing 24 July 2019. Further
information will be distributed later in June.
FURTHER INFORMATION AND ADVICE
For further information and advice, members of the Wine Grape Council of South Australia can contact SAWIA’s Business Services Manager Henrik Wallgren T: 8222 9270, E: email@example.com.
Wine grape growers across South Australia will benefit from the Wine Grape Council of South Australia’s (WGCSA) successful grant under the National Landcare Program’s Smart Farms Small Grants program.
The EcoVineyard concept incorporates native insectary plants to create biodiverse ecosystems in and around vineyards. These plants support populations of insect predators, which contribute towards biocontrol of vineyard pests and may ultimately lead to reduced input costs and the use of chemicals. The use of insectary plants, will help demonstrate our environmental credentials, change the look and function of vineyards and provide opportunities to tell our unique story to tourists and international wine customers.
Insectary plants provide food and shelter to nourish and support ‘good bugs’. Healthy ecosystems can help to reduce the presence of vineyard pests naturally. Stands of native vegetation adjacent to vineyards can increase biodiversity and provide season-long benefits. This project will give wine grape growers practical information and the confidence to grow selected native insectary plants in association with their vineyards.
WGCSA and renowned viticulturist, Mary Retallack from Retallack Viticulture Pty Ltd combined to win this two year, $199,748 grant. WGCSA Business Manager Lisa Bennier said, ‘One of our main objectives at WGCSA is to help SA wine grape growers to be the best in Australia. We aim to improve the health and resilience of our growers’ vineyards and reduce the costs of running a vineyard.’
Project staff will work with grape growers to establish native insectary sites and biodiversity corridors throughout South Australian wine regions. Viticulturist Mary Retallack explains, ‘Locally-adapted, native insectary plants have the capacity to provide benefits including weed suppression, erosion control, nutrient cycling, soil water retention, improved soil organic carbon and biological activity. By establishing native insectary plants around their vineyards, we aim to help growers save time and resources by producing healthy grapes, with lower pest incidence while at the same time, enhancing the resilience and biodiversity of their vineyard.’
The project will begin in spring 2019. It will be a collaborative effort. Experts in the field will work with growers to establish, maintain and monitor native plants around vineyards. Educational materials, fact sheets, workshops and field days will accelerate the uptake of new and practical information and demonstrate the benefits. New branding will identify vineyards using the new ecologically friendly methods.
South Australian wine regions will have the opportunity to promote the ecological and educational opportunities around participating vineyards. ‘We believe EcoVineyards across the state will make the beautiful SA wine regions even more stunning and improve the tourism experience for visitors,’ said Ms Bennier.
A number of project partners have supported WGCSA to get the EcoVineyard project started. Lisa says ‘We look forward to working with all of the project partners and thank them for their support.’
For more information about the EcoVineyards project, please contact WGCSA Business Manager, Lisa Bennier at firstname.lastname@example.org
This project is supported by the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources, through funding from Australian Government's National Landcare Program.
South Australian farmers, farm workers, farm contractors and suppliers in drought-affected areas can obtain help with accessing federal, state and local support services thanks to a series of outreach events being coordinated by the Australian Government.
Assistant Director of the Department of Infrastructure, Regional Development and Cities’ Drought Taskforce, Dale Sheridan, said locals would have the opportunity to sit down for one-on-one discussions with representatives from the Commonwealth and South Australian governments, farm business advisers, mental health support organisations and charities.
“The aim is to provide tailored advice about accessing immediate and longer term support to help people manage their financial affairs, farm businesses and health challenges during and after the drought,” Ms Sheridan said.
“There is a vast range of support measures available, which includes financial assistance, tax assistance, small business coaching, tools to assist farm-related decision making and information about local mental health support services.
“Farmers who attended the events across NSW and Victoria were surprised about the extent of financial support they were actually eligible for, leaving attendees feeling much more optimistic after obtaining advice about measures they previously weren’t aware of.”
Rural Business Support (RBS) CEO Brett Smith said the not-for-profit organisation’s team of experienced Rural Financial Counsellors would be available to help producers make strategic business decisions.
“Our RFC’s can help producers take a big picture look at their unique business situation and present proactive options to ensure they are making affordable, informed decisions about the way forward,” Mr Smith said.
“RBS can also assist farming families with applying for government assistance under programs like the Farm Household Allowance and prepare for meetings with banks.”
Some of the government agencies and organisations attending are:
The Department of Human Services: Farm Household Case Officers from the Department will be on-hand to provide information on the Farm Household Allowance (FHA) and offer advice on other Centrelink payments and services people may be eligible for. Those who are not already receiving FHA have until 1 June 2019 to apply for the lump sum payment of up to $6,000 per household.
The Australian Tax Office (ATO): ATO representatives will provide advice on tax and superannuation assistance measures available to all drought-affected individuals and small businesses across regional Australia. This includes help with interest-free payment plans, adjusting instalments, waiving penalties and more. Assistance is available to any individual or business that is impacted by the drought (not only primary producers).
Primary Industries and Regions SA (PIRSA): PIRSA staff, along with mentors from the Family and Business (FaB) Support Program, will be available to provide advice and support on accessing the range of drought support measures provided by the South Australian Government, including the On-Farm Emergency Water Infrastructure Rebate.
Natural Resources SA: Staff will be on-hand to provide advice about the management and conservation of natural resources.
Rural Business Support (RBS): Any primary producers concerned about the financial impacts of the drought, or reduced access to irrigation water, can discuss these and other business issues with representatives of RBS’s free Rural Financial Counselling Service. Rural Financial Counsellors can also provide support with applications for the Farm Household Allowance, Drought Assistance Funds and Drought Concessional Loans.
The Salvation Army and St Vincent de Paul: Representatives from both charities will distribute grants provided under the Australian Government’s Drought Community Support Initiative, which provides up to $3,000 ($2,000 in cash and $1,000 in vouchers) to eligible farmers, farm workers and suppliers/contractors living or working in one of South Australia’s 22 drought-declared areas.
NBN Co: NBN Local will be available to discuss how the rollout of broadband services in regional South Australia is helping farmers and rural businesses to find and access new markets and improve their overall productivity.
Small Business Coaching: Small business coaches will be available to help provide local farmers and other business people with advice on a range of issues crucial to ensuring they can survive the drought. At each event, 10 local small businesses can access a free 15-minute coaching sessions on the day, and 12 local small businesses can schedule a free 30-minute session with a business coach who has an in-depth understanding of the challenges facing local businesses.
Mental health support organisations: Information will be available about local mental health support services.
For more information about the drought outreach events or Commonwealth drought support measures, please visit: http://www.agriculture.gov.au/ag-farm-food/drought/outreach
Queries about South Australia’s drought assistance measures can be directed to the Drought Hotline on 1800 255 556 or the South Australian Department of Primary Industries and Regions’ Drought Hub at pir.sa.gov.au/drought
Wine grape growers from South Australia who sell fruit and contribute to the South Australia Grape Growers Industry Fund (SAGGIF) now have membership of Australian Grape and Wine through their membership of Wine Grape Council of South Australia (WGSCA).
Below is a short introduction from Australian Grape and Wine outlining the benefits of their organisation and how growers can get in contact with any questions or concerns relating to national issues.
Australian Grape and Wine Incorporated (Australian Grape & Wine) is Australia’s national association of winegrape and wine producers. We provide leadership, strategy, advocacy and support that serves Australian grape and wine businesses now and into the future.
We represent the interests of the more than 2,500 winemakers and 5,000 winegrape growers working in Australia. Our role is to help forge a political, social and regulatory environment — in Australia and overseas — that enables profitable and sustainable Australian wine businesses. These businesses make a significant contribution to growing regional economies by driving growth in jobs, regional exports and food and wine tourism.
Grape growers and winemakers across Australia can look forward to the benefits the amalgamated organisation will bring including:
To get in touch regarding issues of National significance impacting upon the wine sector you can contact our CEO, Tony Battaglene on 0413 014 807 / email@example.com.
For concerns relating to water, biosecurity, pest and disease management (including maximum residue limits and agrichemical availability) or issues regarding environmental and economic sustainability, contact Anna Hooper on 0427 685 077 / firstname.lastname@example.org.
As Manager Industry Policy, Anna works on promoting the best interests of the industry in domestic policy and we encourage WGCSA members to share their views.
For queries around market access technical issues, please contact Damien Griffante on 0423 094 943 / email@example.com. For those broader strategic issues around wine and health, container deposit schemes and the ACCC, please contact Lee McLean is always happy to hear your views, please contact him on 0418 998 749 / firstname.lastname@example.org.
WGCSA members are encouraged to sign up to receive AGW updates here.
2019 Fit4Work - Champions of Change
Register for free workshops to help reduce the risk of injuries to vineyard workers. The feature will be a new online tool called Fit4Work to help reduce the risk of musculo-skeletal injuries when performing common vineyard activities.
Developed via collaboration between the South Australian Wine Industry Association (SAWIA) and Pinnacle Workplace Consultants, with additional funding provided by Wine Grape Council SA (WGCSA) and SA Health, these Fit4Work workshops will provide practical advice on topics including:
These complimentary workshops are open to business owners, managers and staff and aim to educate vineyard workers on how to best protect themselves from injury while also helping grape-growing businesses to protect against financial risk by reducing their exposure to Return to Work premiums.
We also encourage workers from the grape and wine industry across South Australia who:
Coonawarra - Monday 13 May 2019 - 1.00pm - 4.00pm
The Stables, Katnook Estate, Riddoch Highway, Coonawarra
Barossa - Wednesday 22 May 2019 - 1.00pm - 4.00pm
Vine Inn, 14-22 Murray Street, Nuriootpa
Clare - Thursday 23 May 2019 - 9.30am - 12.30pm
Mr Mick's Cellar Door and Restaurant, 7 Dominic Street, Clare
Adelaide Hills - Wednesday 29 May 2019 - 1.00pm - 4.00pm
Meadows Memorial Hall, Mawson Road Meadows
Riverland - Wednesday 5 June 2019 - 10.00am - 1.00pm
Berri Hotel - Riverview Drive Berri.
This SAWIA Notice provides an update on the Labour Hire Licensing Scheme and what grape growers need to know about the latest developments.
One step closer to repeal of labour hire licensing
On 28 November 2018, the South Australian Attorney-General introduced the Labour Hire Licensing Repeal Act 2018 (the Repeal Bill) to repeal the Labour Hire Licensing Act 2017 following extensive lobbying and representation, including from the South Australian Wine Industry Association (SAWIA).
The Repeal Bill was passed by the House of Assembly on 27 February 2019. It is currently before the Legislative Council (Upper House) were the Government must win the support of the cross-bench to successfully pass the Repeal Bill into law.
SAWIA is continuing our lobbying and advocacy efforts, speaking to members of the South Australian Parliament about the importance to the wine industry of the Repeal Act being passed.
SAWIA expects the Repeal Act to be debated and voted on in the Legislative Council in April or May.
n the event there is insufficient parliamentary support for repealing the Act, then SAWIA would support a number of amendments being made to the Act to better target the intended group of labour hire employers.
Licensing system currently not enforced
As a result of the Government’s policy decision, the agency responsible for administering the Act, Consumer and Business Services (CBS), is not accepting applications for a labour hire licence at this time. In addition, CBS is not granting any licences already applied for until Parliament has dealt with the legislation to repeal the labour hire licensing scheme.
IMPORTANTLY - Employment & safety laws continue to apply, including paying correct wages
It should be noted that the process to repeal the labour hire licensing scheme does not affect the operation of other laws relating to employment or safety.
This means that host businesses/clients continue to be responsible for ensuring the health and safety of their labour hire/contract workers and be satisfied that the fees paid to labour hire/contract labour providers is sufficient to cover award minimum wages and entitlements.
Got questions about labour costs or employment conditions??? Professional telephone advice only a phone call away (pre-paid)
WGCSA members are entitled to contact SAWIA Business and Workplace Adviser, Henrik Wallgren via email: email@example.com or calling 08 8222 9277 and seek advice about any employment or safety related matter as part of an on-going arrangement between WGCSA and SAWIA.
Our service is trusted by wine industry employers across South Australia.
As vintage continues across the state, you might have noticed a few unwanted visitors in amongst your grapes. The black Portuguese millipede is a common sight around the house and relatively harmless. But did you know that millipedes may cause damage to grape berries and wine taint if they are fermented with grapes at harvest?
Luckily our resident viticulture expert Mary Retallack has some management tips so growers are better able to manage the impact of millipedes in their vineyard.
The black Portuguese millipede was introduced near Port Lincoln in 1953 and again in Bridgewater in 1964 and is now widespread across southern Australia. Mary says, ‘The conditions in South Australia are perfect for these exotic and invasive millipedes. They prefer our climate of moderate temperatures, lower annual rainfall and have a higher tolerance to drier conditions than native millipedes.’
Mary explains why these tiny creatures can be such an issue at harvest in some locations. ‘Millipedes are an unwelcome pest at harvest due to their capacity to cause damage to grapes and wine taint. They may damage the skins of berries by feeding on them, which has the potential to cause Botrytis and other bunch rots. This may result in a quality downgrade or rejection of fruit from the vineyard.’
The other big issue with black Portuguese millipedes is their defensive nature. Mary says, ‘These millipedes are less susceptible to predation as they excrete chemical compounds when attacked which make them inedible to most natural enemies and birds.’
It is these defensive chemical compounds that often result in wine taint if millipedes are accidentally fermented with grapes. The excretions produce unpleasant flavour compounds which are noticeable when tasting contaminated wine.
Image - Millipedes in a grape bin at vintage and outside a building
Millipedes in vineyards
Mary says, ‘Even though millipedes do not move much more than several hundred metres a year they have the capacity to colonise areas quickly and grape berries may provide an attractive source of food. It is important that if you have experienced a millipede problem in the past, to take preventative action.’
Mary’s research in vineyards in the Adelaide Hills and Barossa revealed that millipedes were found in the greatest numbers early in the growing season and declined during the warmer months. However, following rainfall events in February, the millipede population increased again.
One method of controlling millipedes, which is successful in domestic situations, could provide a long-term biocontrol option for vineyards. Mary explains ‘It is possible to control millipede populations in domestic backyards via the release of the parasitic nematode Rhabditis necromena which occurs naturally near Bridgewater, SA. The nematodes are released via a series of baiting stations which attract the millipedes. The millipedes then ingest the nematodes which bore through their gut wall lining. Bacteria from the gut then infects the millipedes, which kills them.’ Further research is required to assess their potential use and efficacy in broader scale applications such as vineyards.
There are a number of chemical control options registered for the control of millipedes. However, pesticides have a limited active life, must be re-applied for ongoing control, are not registered for use in vineyards or are restricted for use by some wineries. The use of broad-spectrum pesticides may also have unintended consequences, leading to the death of natural enemies or facilitate secondary pest outbreaks.
Growers are encouraged to maintain vigilance. If they have experienced a millipede issue in the past on a particular site, then consider an integrated and long-term approach to pest control using the points above as a guide.
If you have any questions about the topics covered in this email, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org