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Tuesday, 22 July 2014 00:00

The Australian Grape and Wine Authority (AGWA)

It's early days for the Australian Grape and Wine Authority (AGWA) – the Board that was appointed on 30 June is meeting soon for the first time, and I'm honoured to be appointed Acting Chief Executive Officer to lead AGWA during its early stages. I look forward to working with all levy payers and our partners, such as the State and Regional Associations.

My first priority is to ensure it's business-as-usual for our existing services to the grape and wine sector. The activities both bodies delivered on 30 June are still needed by the industry from 1 July onwards, and this transition phase should not distract us from our core responsibilities of service delivery.

You would be aware that the primary driver behind the creation of AGWA was to ensure strategic alignment across pre-competitive, collaborative activities that support the Australian wine sector, namely: market development, market access, regulatory advice and assistance, information research and development, and extension.

I believe there are significant opportunities ahead to further integrate these activities to ensure an enhanced and targeted service to industry. But it's important to note that the various tied funding streams for AGWA remain unchanged, with expected administrative savings being redirected to delivering activities.

One of the first items of business for the new Board will be to approve by 30 September an initial Corporate Plan for the organisation for the first year (as required by the Act), and then a five-year plan by 30 June 2015. Both predecessor organisations had detailed corporate plans, which will form the starting point for the Board's broader strategy deliberations.

Sustainable profitability continues to be a challenge for the Australian wine sector, an issue shared by all in the value chain. We'll continue to encourage the faster adoption of research and development outcomes across the whole value chain, from vine to glass, and on delivering activities that build the reputation of the category in our major markets.

This will ensure more quality Australian wines are available to consumers, whether on retail shelves or restaurant wine lists. In short, we're committed to deliver services that help improve returns for grape growers, winemakers and all in the value chain.

I look forward to working with you all during this important period ahead.

Andreas Clark
Acting Chief Executive Officer
Australian Grape and Wine Authority