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Aussie growers ask for government aid

Published:  23 July, 2008

An Australian grape grower representative has asked the federal government for a AUS$60 million bailout to prevent up to 40% of growers going out of business in the next two years.

Mark McKenzie, executive director of the Wine Grape Growers Council of Australia (WGGA), has proposed that the money be used to compensate growers for not picking their grapes in the next two vintages to end the oversupply problems and inventory backlogs that have gripped the Australian industry. Money would be also be made available as a dignity payment' to allow growers to leave the industry.

McKenzie told The Sydney Morning Herald: If nothing happens, then these growers will be thrown on the social security system. We need to take 15,000 hectares out of the system for the next two years.'

The AWBC has announced that the 2006 harvest fell by 4.1% compared with 2005, to 1.85 million tonnes.