South Australian Wine Grapes Industry Act 1991
The South Australian Wine Grapes Industry Act 1991 (SAWGI Act) is legislation relating the payment of ALL wine grapes sold in SA.
It is important to note this legislation is not mirrored in the other states of Australia and if you sell your grapes interstate, you are not currently afforded the same level of legislative protection.
Key clauses in the Act:
1. Terms and conditions of payment
Section 6 of the Act states that grape payments shall be made in three equal instalments.
1) The first (1/3rd) instalment shall be paid before the end of the month following the month of delivery.
2) The second (1/3rd) instalment shall be paid before the 30th June in that year.
3) The third (1/3rd) instalment shall be paid before 30th September in that year.
If a processor defaults in making a payment within the time fixed above, there are provisions within the Act for the processor to pay the producer interest and/or take action to recover costs.
For more information about these terms visit: www.pir.sa.gov.au/wine/ then go to the section on ‘Legislation’, and ‘Terms and Conditions of Payment’.
2. Conditions for acceptance of delivery
Section 9 of the Act 1991 states,
‘A processor must not accept delivery of wine grapes for processing unless all amounts that have previously fallen due for payment by the processor for wine grapes received by the processor, or any person acting on the processor’s behalf, in a previous season have been paid in full’.
Breaches to grape payment terms
If grape growers are asked to accept payment for grapes outside of the payment periods mandated by the Act and would like advice or assistance in this matter, they should contact the BGWA, Primary Industries and Resources SA (PIRSA), or seek legal advice.
If grape growers have not been paid according to the legislated terms, they should contact PIRSA who, upon request, will write a letter (maintaining grower anonymity) to the offending party seeking prompt payment. If no payment is forthcoming then a grower may choose to initiate legal proceedings.
A copy of the SAWGI Act can be downloaded from www.legislation.sa.gov.au then search for ‘Wine Grapes Industry Act 1991’.
Australian Wine Industry Code of Conduct
A dispute over the sale of wine grapes can be navigated through the provisions outlined in the Australian Wine Industry Code of Conduct (‘the Code’), if the grape purchaser is a signatory. Please refer to www.wineindustrycode.org for signatories to the Code.
Wine grape purchasers who are signatories agree to be bound by the Code in their commercial dealings with wine grape growers. As of January 2011 the Code was voluntary; however the trend of consensus is that, in time, it will probably lead towards a mandatory Code as has been the case in the horticulture industry.
Independent expert list
If a dispute arises and the grape purchaser is a signatory to the Code, a list of ‘Independent Experts’ can be obtained by contacting the Winemakers’ Federation of Australia on (08) 8222 9255, or Wine Grape Growers’ Australia (08) 8362 9802.
‘The Code’ Administration Committee is charged with managing the operation of ‘the Code’, and the Secretariat (The Accord Group) can be contacted by phone: (02) 9264 9506, fax: (02) 9264 8268 or email: email@example.com. For more information go to, www.wineindustrycode.org