February 12, 2018
The South Burnett Wine Industry Association says it is disappointed with Commonwealth Games organisers, who have snubbed Queensland’s wines and opted to sell Victorian wines at the Games instead.
In conjunction with the Department of State Development, the SBWIA has been lobbying for a chance to supply the region’s wines to the Games since February last year.
Instead, they were not even given the chance to make a presentation and found out in late January the contract has been given to a Victorian company which has no Queensland wines in its portfolio.
SBWIA president Jason Kinsella said the entire experience had left him “bewildered, disappointed and disillusioned.”
“When the Commonwealth Games were announced we saw it as a great opportunity to promote Queensland wines to the world,” he said.
“Our state’s wines have been winning national and international awards for years, and Tourism Queensland says food and wine tourism is a key driver in growing our state’s tourism market.
“Just last year the State Government implemented a “Buy Queensland First” policy because they say they want to promote jobs, particularly in rural and regional areas.
“But now visitors at the Games are going to get interstate wines, while our own State’s wineries don’t even get a look-in.”
Mr Kinsella said last September he received an email from Games organisers advising that their “Meet The Buyer” session had been pushed back to November.
He later discovered tenders had been approved without any Queensland winery or wine industry group being given the opportunity to put in a bid.
“We didn’t expect to get the lot if we’d been allowed to put in a bid, but we thought a 20 per cent Queensland wine component would be a good thing for the state,” he said.
Mr Kinsella said one of the bitter ironies of the situation was that the games were being headed up by former Queensland Premier Peter Beattie.
When he was Premier, Mr Beattie thought the State’s wine industry was so important he appointed a Minister for Wine.
On Monday afternoon, Member for Nanango Deb Frecklington slammed the State Government over the decision to snub Queensland’s wine industry.
“The Commonwealth Games are an opportunity to showcase the best of Queensland to the rest of the world but unfortunately lazy Labor just haven’t done the work,” Mrs Frecklington said.
“Queensland’s wine producers shouldn’t have to ‘suck it up’ just because Labor couldn’t be bothered.
“This wine snub comes on top of the 9000 mattresses for the Athletes Village that could have been made here but instead are being shipped in from China.
“It is becoming increasingly clear that Annastacia Palaszczuk is happy to use the games for fluffy photo opportunities, but not to do the hard work that is necessary to ensure these games leave a lasting legacy for Queensland.
“Queensland wines should be served at the games, and Queensland businesses should get first priority.
“The Commonwealth Games are a chance for Queensland to put its best foot forward on the international stage and may be the catalyst for a flourishing wine industry in Queensland to take on the likes of South Australia and Tasmania.
“It is another massive opportunity squandered.”