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Wednesday, 7 February 2001
Page: 24205

Mr Fitzgibbon asked the Minister for Employment, Workplace Relations and Small Business, upon notice, on 1 November 2000:

(1) What sum is to be provided to the Wine Society to set up a wine centre at The Rocks in Sydney through the Growing Regional Opportunities for Work program.

(2) What is the purpose of the project.

(3) In providing this funding, is he confident there are tangible spin-off benefits for regional tourism, particularly regional wineries, and how will the Government measure or track these benefits.

Mr Reith (Minister for Employment, Workplace Relations and Small Business) —The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

(1) The Australian National Wine Society, the project proponent, received $300 000 of funding from the Regional Assistance Programme (RAP).

(2) The purpose of the `Australian Wine Industry Centre - Sydney' project is to establish the Australian Wine Centre which will:

- profile and promote emerging wine regions;

- provide industry education courses;

- enhance the knowledge and skills of regional tourism officers;

- promote and market on behalf of new and small enterprises;

- encourage overseas investment in local wine industry product; and

- develop web-site networks to directly benefit producers.

(3) I am advised that the project was endorsed by the local Area Consultative Committee due to the significant potential benefits for the regional wine industry through greater exposure to tourism and export markets. In approving RAP funding, the department assessed the project and accepted the ACC's advice on the potential employment and regional benefits.

My department will track the progress of the project via monthly progress reports from the proponent that will identify progress of project objectives. State office staff within my department, in consultation with the GROW Employment Council, the endorsing Area Consultative Committee, and the Australian National Wine Society, will complete a two stage internal evaluation process following the completion of the project.

In addition, the proponent will provide annual reports outlining outcomes generated over the first three years of the project.