All Saints chief takes up fight for wine

Eliza Brown. Picture: KYLIE ESLER
Eliza Brown. Picture: KYLIE ESLER

SUCCESSION planning, improving profitability and understanding export needs are issues fourth-generation winemaker Eliza Brown will raise as a member of a new Agricultural Industry Advisory Council.

The All Saints Estate and St Leonard’s Vineyard chief executive is the sole Victorian representative on the panel of 10.

“It’s a great honour,” she said yesterday.

“We in the wine industry have a lot of work to do over the next 10 years to regain ground.”

Federal Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce said the panel showed the government was serious about “listening to industry to following through and working in partnership with agricultural industries”.

Other panel members represent the livestock, forestry, fishing, dairy, grains, wool and horticulture industries and the banking sector.

“We are looking at agriculture across Australia,” Ms Brown said.

“We have such a diverse and incredible land — one part of Australia will be in drought, another will be in flood and somewhere else it will be snowing.

“It’s important to bring a group of people together to discuss all those issues and to really understand what we need in the future.

“We need a good understanding of what our export needs are, infrastructure and planning around agriculture risks such as drought.”

Ms Brown said another important factor was succession planning.

“How are people going to make their agriculture business viable now and for the next 20 years?” she asked.

“How are our children going to be doing business? — we have lots of issues such as the high dollar, infrastructure problems and a lot of taxation questions.

“We don’t want to focus on the negative, we want to focus on what we can change.”

The council will have its first meeting in April — a three-day event at an undetermined venue.

“My job, from now until then, is to gather as much information from other people as I can,” Ms Brown said.

“I don’t want this to be just all my opinion.”

The council will also assist the government to drive regulatory changes as it sets out to meet its promise of reducing red tape.

Mr Joyce said the council’s members had expertise across a wide range of agriculture, fisheries and forestry industries.

“They are well placed to inform government about key issues affecting these sectors and provide advice on policy and regulation,” he said.

The council will produce an agriculture white paper this year.

- All Saints Estate and St Leonard’s Vineyard chief executive Eliza Brown has been appointed to the federal government’s new Agricultural Industry Advisory Council.