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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2006 Week 10 Hansard (17 October) . . Page.. 3143..

MR STANHOPE (continuing):

recognition and status as one of the great wines of Australia. I was talking to Tim Kirk just recently. He informed me that he is now selling more Clonakilla in New York than he sells in Australia. It gives some indication of the extent to which the regional wine industry is going ahead in leaps and bounds with high quality, world-class wine.

The number of Canberra district five-star wineries represented in James Halliday's most influential Australian Wine Companion has increased from one in last year's edition to four in this year's edition. It might not sound like many, but it is very significant that James Halliday is now rating four local wineries as five-star wineries-a jump from one to four in just the last year.

The number of Canberra district wineries represented last week in the international riesling challenge grew from 18 last year to 27 this year. Indeed, the Canberra riesling challenge itself has grown from 100 exhibitors in just six years to just over 450 last week, including 100 international wineries-90 from Germany alone-now rushing to be part of this significant Canberra-based international wine challenge.

Similarly, in the last couple of years the region has experienced an enormous expansion in activities aimed at attracting tourism, such as the wine, roses and all that jazz festival, the Canberra district wine harvest and the fireside festival, which commenced last year. I am told that an enormously successful new event called the Murrumbateman moving feast will be another new event with Canberra at the table. This industry is important and it is growing exponentially.

MS PORTER: Mr Speaker, I have a supplementary question. Will there necessarily be a negative impact on the region's wine industry from the announcement by the Hardy Group that it intends to divest itself of the Kamberra operation?

MR STANHOPE: It is fair to say that the announcement by Hardy that it had proposed to divest itself of Kamberra initially sent something of a shudder through the wine industry. However, members of the industry thought their way through the implications of that. As a result of the significance and the strength of-and the confidence in-the wine industry in the ACT, there is a real confidence that the sale by Hardy's of Kamberra will not impact negatively on the industry.

There are some scenarios that would be of major concern if they were to come to pass. The possibility of an investor or an out-of-town winemaker buying Kamberra and essentially stripping it and removing the very significant wine-making capacity within the winery would be a problem. There are potential scenarios, the worst case being that Kamberra might be purchased by an out-of-town winemaker looking simply to divine, to remove-at perhaps a premium cost to himself-the equipment that is comprised in the winery.

It is a state-of-the-art, excellent facility. It is a very new winery with fantastic equipment and it has been an enormous boon to the development and stature of the industry in the territory. Hardy's has made an enormous contribution to the growth of the industry in terms of its stature, its quality and its professionalism. The investment by the ACT government and by the local wine community in Canberra has been a very worthwhile investment.

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