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Australia's Wine Exports Hit The $1 Billion Mark

HON WARREN TRUSS MP MINISTER FOR AGRICULTURE, FISHERIES AND FORESTRY

16 AUGUST 1999

Australia's wine industry has reached a significant economic and symbolic milestone, chalking up $1 billion in sales in a 12-month period for the first time, the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Warren Truss, said today.

Speaking at a ceremony in Parliament House to mark the occasion, Mr Truss said that the achievement was all the more remarkable given that only eight years ago Australia's wine exports were worth around $135 million.

"Everyday of the year, some 600,000 bottles of Australian wine leave our shores for competitive and demanding overseas markets," Mr Truss said.

"However, it's not just the valuable export income the industry earns that is important, it also plays an significant role in promoting growth and job creation in rural and regional Australia.

"And while there is always going to be debate about the quality of wines produced around the world, the increase in sales worldwide shows that consumers are letting us know what they think about the Australian product."

The Minister said the wine industry's success is not a question of good luck or circumstances.

"It's the result of hard work and getting the basics right," he said. "It's about delivering a consistently high quality product at a competitive price. There are clear lessons here for other sectors of our economy, particularly those seeking to boost their exports.

"Our wine industry is regarded as one of the world's leaders in technical innovation. And it continues to maintain a great emphasis on research and development. Earlier this year, the industry increased its R&D funding by a staggering 60 per cent.

"Another important reason for the industry's success over the past decade, is its ability to set bold but achievable goals and then have all parts of the industry work together to make them happen.

"The Strategy 2025 document sets some ambitious industry goals, such as producing 6.5 per cent of the world's wine by 2025. On current form, this looks well within reach.

"The vision contained in Strategy 2025 is a credit, not only to the Winemaker's Federation of Australia who initiated it, but to the many companies and individuals who will help make it a reality.

"But Australia can't afford to sit back and think the job's done - our competitors certainly won't. In fact, the industry must step up its export drive by maintaining a strong commitment to quality R&D, industry training, product development, marketing and promotion.

"And given the professionalism and determination of Australia's Wine Industry, I am sure it will not be too long before we are celebrating new and even more impressive milestones."

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