Australia’s alcohol beverage industry has launched a 10-year growth plan with a range of strategies to drive jobs, exports, tourism, technology, better environmental outcomes and safer, thriving communities.
Vision 2030 – a sector first collaboration commissioned by Alcohol Beverages Australia – used modelling by Deloitte Access Economics to identify how the beverage industry currently delivers a yearly $52 billion contribution to the Australian economy, 485,000 jobs and $9.3 billion in combined taxes and where it could be in a decade.
Alcohol Beverages Australia CEO Andrew Wilsmore (above) said Vision 2030 is the result of wide industry consultation and is a document for all the industry to use as their own.
“With the right policy settings by Government and the cooperation of everyone across the value chain we can supercharge the future for this industry from where it starts in the paddock to where it ends in the hands of a consumer,” he said.
“Deloitte’s modelling suggests an extra 48,000 jobs can be added – a much needed tonic for national employment in the post-COVID era. Many of those new positions will be in regional Australia in agriculture and tourism, supporting a workforce across a wide range of careers, from viticulture and hospitality through to manufacturing and management.
“By propelling new regional job initiatives, industrial relations settings, and visa reforms the Government can make a critical and meaningful impact on communities in every state.”
The outlook for exports
Wilsmore says Australian exports also have enormous potential.
“We can double the international trade of our wines, spirits and beer to $8.6 billion, provided we can reduce barriers for new and current exports markets and create new support bodies for smaller producers. Wine exports will continue to lead, but our distinctive craft distillery products – already valued the world over – can deliver a similar trajectory to what wine export growth did starting back in the 1970s.
“You only have to look at Japan to see what’s possible. What was a modest domestic whisky market twenty years ago has become a billion dollar world powerhouse.”
The outlook for tourism
Alcohol beverages and tourism go hand in hand across Australia.
“We want to partner with national and regional tourism to further the experience of tourists who choose destinations based on what they can eat and drink,” said Wilsmore.
“The most recent research shows that the majority of visitors associate visits to Australia with food and drinks experiences and almost 7.5 million overnight trips in Australia last year involved a visit to a winery, brewery or micro distillery.
“Domestic and international spending by tourists on food and drinks can grow by more than $10 billion by 2030 – and that value-add goes straight to regional communities with jobs, and better infrastructure that make them an attractive location to live, work and visit.
“Our members will partner with the state and federal tourism authorities, to reinforce the value of drinking experiences, but there’s a role for Government by growing the sense of importance for Australians to travel within Australia, while still making us the destination of choice for international business travellers and tourists.”
Building stronger regions is another key component of Vision 2030.
Wilsmore noted: “In many regional centres pubs and clubs are often the only place communities can gather together. Almost half the liquor licenses in Australia are in regional centres and it makes sense to us that we must do all we can to promote and improve livelihoods for all those who live there, whether it’s on farms or in the towns. City quality broadband is a must and Governments need to do more to provide the services that locals deserve, and the initiatives that encourage people to move there.
Red tape reduction
Australia is home to one of the world’s most highly regulated liquor markets, and producers pay some of the world’s highest taxes on spirits, beer and wine.
“Red tape stifles innovation and job creation in our businesses, especially so in small and medium enterprises,” said Wilsmore. “The ATO could assist by reviewing the remittance time frames for alcohol taxes and help free up working capital.
“Another simple fix would be a national Responsible Service of Alcohol certification. We all strive for the same outcomes, yet every state has a different regulation regime that hampers cross border movement for those who work in the industry.”
Building better outcomes
Technology and sustainability will be a key focus of the next ten years, said Wilsmore. “We will be investigating the use of blockchain technology to protect the provenance of our products and seeking the assistance of Government-sponsored R&D to help Australian alcohol beverage producers compete with the best in the world on cost and quality.
“We aim to also be world leaders in environmental issues with investment strategies focused on sustainable practices, from renewable energy to packaging sustainability and innovative ways to manage waste.
“An ambitious future plan must be backed up by a credible commitment to environmental responsibility; our customers expect it, as do all our stakeholders in Australia and internationally,” said Wilsmore.
“We acknowledge our social responsibility to play a leadership role in developing a true circular economy.”
The outlook for social & environmental responsibility
“Alcohol beverage producers are individually investing in renewable energy, sustainable packaging, waste management and achieving the goal of genuine circular economy and with the support of Government initiatives we can further reduce waste and recycle packaging.
“Vision 2030 doesn’t ignore the responsibilities incumbent on alcohol producers. We support highly targeted interventions to address harm or misuse for those who need it most and we also call on the states to follow the lead of NSW and build data collection agencies to provide better knowledge and consistency around the reporting of alcohol related assaults and hospital admissions.”
The Alcohol Beverage industry has set realistic targets to grow its future and maximize its contribution to the nation’s economy. “Australia’s drinking culture has changed,” noted Wilsmore.
“People are consuming less alcohol now than they were 50 years ago, and they’re doing it more responsibly with moderation the new normal. Vision 2030 wants to build on this trend, which means creating innovative higher value products, pursuing new markets, and changing how the industry can deliver on jobs and policies so that Australia can thrive.”