Liquor & Gaming COVID-19

Wine fund changes leave a bad taste in the mouth

06 October 2021

A slight change in eligibility criteria has left Victorian wineries that have closed through the pandemic missing out on tens of thousands of dollars of desperately-needed financial support.

Future payments through the Licenced Hospitality Venue Fund will now be determined by patron caps on liquor licences, restricting larger cellar doors with bars, cafes and restaurants to the lowest form of financial support.

Most wineries that hold a producer’s licence do not have patron caps identified, meaning larger cellar doors that can seat more than 500 people are eligible for just $5000 per week (for premises with capacity of 0-99 patrons or ‘patrons not specified’).

Meanwhile, other licenced venues of a similar size can access $20,000 per week.

Leading industry body, Wine Victoria, is concerned the revised criteria will create strong disparity amongst membership and other Victorian hospitality providers, particularly those in regional Victoria.

Comments attributable to Shadow Minister for Liquor and Gaming Regulation Steph Ryan

“Labor is using a technicality to lock Victorian wineries out of tens of thousands of dollars in financial support.”

“The Andrews Labor Government continues to implement a one-size-fits-all approach, blatantly ignoring the unique requirements on Victorian hospitality venues.

“The past two years have been incredibly difficult for the Victorian wine industry which is facing significant hardship after catastrophic bushfires, punitive Chinese tariffs on Victorian wine and COVID-19.

“Victoria’s wine industry will not be able to carry on without fair access to government support.

“Daniel Andrews must do more to fix the mess Labor’s lockdowns have created. Only fair and adequate financial support will help these venues to reopen, rebuild and recover.”

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