GAYLE TIERNEY (Western Victoria – Minister for Training and Skills, Minister for Higher Education, Minister for Agriculture) (12:39): Victoria makes some of the best drinks in the world. Last night I was delighted to host Drink Victorian, an event promoting our fabulous drink producers. The Drink Victorian program supports venues to increase their range of Victorian-made drinks, including low- and no-alcohol drinks. This initiative has promoted more than 390 Victorian drink producers, with many reporting a significant increase in sales. This also supports regional Victorian growers, who grow the produce that is distilled or brewed by Victorian manufacturers. We all have a role to play when it comes to getting Victorian drinks in Victorian venues. If you cannot get your favourite Victorian drink at your local restaurant, bar or shop, ask them why not. While we all know that Victorian drinks are world class, our producers are receiving international recognition, with Echuca Distillery and Starward in Port Melbourne among those receiving global awards.
Victoria’s wider drinks industry directly contributes $10.7 billion to the economy, supporting over 350,000 jobs. Regional communities are reaping the benefits of breweries, cider houses, distilleries and wineries, as they continue to become destinations in their own right, supporting tourism and jobs. Just imagine what our drink producers will achieve once they have made the most of this government’s recent investments, including most recently the regional tourism infrastructure program that will help wineries, breweries and distilleries build much-needed accommodation.
I want to thank Anthea Bosha for her passionate leadership of Food and Drink Victoria and Victorian Drinks Alliance, and Oakdene Vineyards, Banks Botanicals, Co-conspirators Brewing Company, DV Cider and Patient Wolf Distilling for their generosity at last night’s event here at Parliament House.