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Thursday, 14 February 2019
Page: 10250

Senator RUSTON (South AustraliaAssistant Minister for International Development and the Pacific) (12:57): The government recognises the important contribution the wine industry makes to the Australian economy. In 2018 Australia's total wine exports exceeded $2.8 billion, with benefits flowing to both Australian wine producers and regional wine-producing communities. The UK is Australia's top wine export market by volume and the third-largest by value. It is therefore vital that we ensure the continuity of trade with the UK regardless of Brexit arrangements. The Wine Australia Amendment (Trade with United Kingdom) Bill 2019 will facilitate the continued trade in wine between Australia and the United Kingdom in the event of a Brexit transition period. Trade in wine between Australia and the UK is currently facilitated by the agreement between Australia and the European Community on trade in wine. This wine agreement will cease to apply to wine traded between Australia and the UK in the event of a no-deal Brexit or at the end of the Brexit transition period. The bill amends the definition of 'EC country' in the Wine Australia Act 2013 to include the UK during the Brexit transition period. This will ensure that the beneficial conditions for wine trade continue to apply between Australia and the UK during this period. The bill is important to Australia's wine exporters as well as the wine industry more broadly. It is important that the parliament supports continued market access and trade relationships that enable our wine industry to grow. I thank senators for their contribution to the debate, acknowledging that the wine industry is very important to our regional communities, winemakers and wine grape growers throughout Australia. I commend the bill to the Senate.

Question agreed to.

Bill read a second time.