The Hon. J.S.L. DAWKINS (14:34): My question is directed to the Minister for Trade and Investment. Will the minister provide the council with an update on South Australian exports in wine and how the government plans to assist the industry to re-establish export markets post coronavirus?
The Hon. D.W. RIDGWAY (Minister for Trade and Investment) (14:34): I thank the honourable member for his ongoing interest in exports, especially wine. Wine, we know, remains the state's largest merchandise export, increasing by some $85 million (or 4.6 per cent) to $1.93 billion to the 12 months in March. Much of this growth comes from the increase in premium quality wine exports, with growth in the total value up 8 per cent, compared with 3 per cent value nationally.
In the short to medium term, though, some pressure on wine exports is expected as a result of the social restrictions, such as dining out due to coronavirus, but the South Australian wine industry is well positioned to support the export recovery, and the Marshall Liberal government has designed a series of market initiatives to support our wine exporters to get back on track. With wine industry events postponed or cancelled, these market initiatives are designed to: encourage consumer demand and export orders for South Australian wine, working with existing in-market partners; informally educate wine exporters on the post-COVID-19 wine market; and support market diversification.
On 28 May this year I will be co-hosting a China wine market webinar with the South Australian Wine Industry Association. On 11 June there will be another webinar on the Hong Kong market with Peter Gago and other key industry representatives speaking. Both these webinars will provide an up-to-date market insight and share consumer trends in China and Hong Kong respectively.
Another initiative is the Marshall Liberal government partnering with the China Chamber of Commerce of Foodstuffs and Native Products to hold a virtual wine trade exhibition in late June, where South Australian wineries will meet potential buyers over a live stream. With more and more wine trade business being conducted online, our government is also ramping up training to upskill our wineries in this area.
In early June our government will deliver three webinars in collaboration with Wine Communicators Australia on how to successfully conduct virtual wine tastings for buyers. In these uncertain times the Marshall Liberal government also wants to diversify our markets. One such market of focus is the United States, and of course we appointed Ms Regina Johnson as our in-market representative in February this year. Growth in our wine exports in the US was up 19 per cent in the January to March quarter, compared with 2019, and we are seeing the results of our federal government's investment in the Far From Ordinary Wine Roadshow that was held late last year.
We will continue investing in this market and partnering with Wine Australia to support up to eight South Australian wine exporters access the US market entry program by funding 50 per cent of the participation fee. Considering that the USA is one of the most complex wine markets in the world, it is important that South Australian businesses access this growing market and hit the ground running when borders reopen. In addition to these initiatives we will continue to work closely with our regional wine associations, as well as Wine Australia and other campaigns and initiatives, and our overseas office network remains a valuable connection for our wine exporters to access. The Marshall Liberal government continues to support this critical industry through this coronavirus crisis to create more jobs and wealth for South Australians to make us stronger than before.