Friday, 21 November 2014 00:00

Chair's 2014 wrap up - Damien Sheehan

Thanks to our members who attended the Wine Victoria Annual General Meeting (AGM) last week, the event was a great chance for the industry to wrap a busy year for Wine Victoria.

As part of my Chair's report, I provided an update on the progress we've made in building a close working relationship with the Victorian Government in 2014.

In the past year, through ongoing consultation with our members and wider stakeholders, we have achieved a consolidated industry position on five priority areas for election lobbying – trade, tourism, environment, tax, and wine and health.

As a result of closer relations with Cabinet and Shadow Cabinet Ministers, 2014 has seen positive results in Government commitment to our policy priorities. Please read the Wine Victoria 2014 Chair's Report to gain an overview of these key achievements made this year and how they tie in with our profitability outlook.

While we have made great strides in bringing the Victorian wine agenda to parliament this year, it is crucial to remember that our previous absence was noted by politicians. As such, continuing to engage, define and build a presence for our industry will certainly remain our main objective going into 2015.

From a membership perspective, our Board has made good progress on modernising our membership arrangements to ensure our association is sustainable into the future.  Refining a sustainable membership model will continue to be a focus next year.

To summarise the past 12 months, Wine Victoria has made valuable gains for our industry in identifying the best opportunities to reverse challenges such as oversupply. Amongst other advancements, we now have a clearer vision and strategy as to how to tap into the burgeoning Asian market in particular, and the State Government's inbound trade mission scheduled for early 2015 will be a key step towards this goal.

As you would all agree, there is promise attached to our current problems. Times have been tough for winemakers, but 2014 has been a year of much needed strategic thinking that has evidently been acknowledged by our political stakeholders.

We know what needs to be done to turn things around, and look forward to working with our members and wider industry throughout 2015 to build on our strengthened political ties to keep the momentum of the Victorian wine industry moving for 2015 and beyond.