This is the first Federal Government inquiry open to Australia’s spirits industry

March 22, 2024
By Cody Profaca

A new Federal Government inquiry into food and beverage manufacturing is now open to submissions. The inquiry was commenced by the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Resources following a referral from the Minister for Industry and Science, the Hon Ed Husic MP, on Monday. 

“The inquiry will examine the state of innovation in the industry, including new technologies for post-farmgate food and beverage manufacturing and packaging, and opportunities for growth in new product markets,” said Committee Chair Rob Mitchell MP.

“It will also consider shifting consumer trends, the role of the research sector and future workforce needs.”

The inquiry’s Terms of Reference are highly relevant to Australia’s spirits industry which has welcomed the opportunity to contribute.

“We look forward to sharing this story with the Committee in the coming months,” said Paul McLeay, Australian Distillers Association chief executive. 

“This announcement is very timely for the Australian spirits industry, which has clear potential for an export boom like that previously enjoyed by wine.

“The industry generates $15.5 billion in added-value to the Australian economy, however, this contribution could be even greater with policy settings that encourage domestic and foreign investment in our industry.”

The Committee’s inquiry into food and beverage manufacturing represents the first opportunity for Australian distillers to reflect on their industry in this format. 

“This is the first ever Federal Government inquiry that is open to the spirits sector, which has made remarkable progress in recent years,” said Greg Holland, chief executive at Spirits & Cocktails Australia.

“Spirits manufacturing needs a comprehensive plan to ensure our growth is sustainable over the longer term.

“Without targeted interventions, the Australian spirits industry will be left behind as governments in other emerging spirits markets – like Japan and Ireland – invest in the potential of their domestic industries.

Written submissions for the current inquiry can be made up until May 1. For more information, visit the Parliament of Australia’s Making a Submission webpage.

“We want to hear from large and small manufacturers about their experiences, hopes and fears for the future… whether you’re a Food and Drink Business top-10 firm, a third-generation family business, or in the start-up or venture capital sectors,” said Mitchell.

“We are also looking for the views of experts in food science, process engineering and packaging.”

“This is such a diverse and exciting part of our economy. We want to hear about how the Government can support the sector to thrive.”

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