Legislative Council: Tuesday, May 02, 2023


Downy and Powdery Mildews

In reply to the Hon. S.L. GAME ().23 March 2023).

The Hon. C.M. SCRIVEN (Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development, Minister for Forest Industries): I am advised that persistent wet growing conditions across South Australia, and indeed, around the country, have created a deficit in supply of chemicals used to treat fungal infection in vineyards resulting in widespread blooms of downy and powdery mildew. This is compounded by the increase in cost of chemicals which have been driven up by the global freight crisis.

There are no plans to directly compensate primary producers for the treatment of their vines, however we are working hard to support the grape and wine sector to build resilience into their supply chain.

A few weeks ago, federal Minister for Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, Senator the Hon. Murray Watt and I jointly announced an extension of the Farm Business Resilience Program to South Australian grapegrowers, with pilot programs scheduled for the Riverland, in the South-East and in Langhorne Creek.

Grapegrowers can access subsidised learning and development opportunities in strategic business management, farm risk management and decision-making, natural resource management, and personal and social resilience valued at up to $10,000 which is all designed to make their farms more resilience to the impacts of things like mildew outbreak. Grapegrowers are encouraged to contact the Wine Grape Council of South Australia to register their interest.

Other programs that PIRSA are leading which are specifically designed to increase resilience into the wine industry value chain include the recent opening of the government funded $1.98 million No and Low Alcohol Wine Trial Scale Research Facility at the University of Adelaide's Waite Campus. The facility will support South Australian wineries to undertake new product development to meet the growing global consumer demand for no and low alcohol wine.

As a direct response to the oversupply, high input costs and falling grape prices, the government has provided a $100,000 grant to Riverland Wine to undertake a 10-year strategic planning process to deliver the Riverland Wine Industry Blueprint.