Most growers have now paid their annual levy contribution to Vinehealth Australia, which is pleasing to see. This money enables Vinehealth Australia’s work to safeguard vineyards from significant pest and disease threats, including phylloxera.

However, some vineyard owners have defaulted on payment. Following the Notice of Assessment in June and a reminder statement in July, vineyard owners with outstanding debts have just been sent a Final Notice of Assessment.

A default on a Final Notice will result in a Demand Notice being issued with a 25% penalty on the current year’s liability being applied. And a default on a Demand Notice will result in the account being referred to the Debt Management Services Branch at RevenueSA, who will instigate debt recovery processes.

“We really don’t want any South Australian vineyard owners to end up there,” said Vinehealth Australia CEO Inca Pearce. “This levy – which has been set at $9.50 per hectare with a minimum of $50 for the past 20 years – is more important today than ever before. We’re facing increasing biosecurity threats and exotic incursions are on the rise. We need a strong biosecurity army in South Australia to combat these threats.”

The levy is a mandatory payment by the land owner under the Phylloxera and Grape Industry Act 1995. It applies to vines, alive or dead, or any vine cutting or part of a vine that is planted, growing or found in a parcel of land.

If you have any concerns about your account or payment, please contact Jo Bainbridge on (08) 8273 0550 to discuss your circumstances.