Rory McEwen has been appointed the new chairman of the Grape and Wine Research and Development Corporation board.
Mr McEwen, who recently retired as the independent Member for Mount Gambier, is the former South Australian minister for agriculture.
He has also spent five years chairing the South Australian Wine Industry Council and says the experience will be extremely valuable in his new role.
“Now, of course, I’ve got to put on a national hat,” he said.
“South Australia is certainly the most significant wine producing state, New South Wales next and Victoria, but obviously Western Australia, Tasmania, Queensland, everybody has got an industry and I’ve got to now just make sure that simply because I’m South Australian-based doesn’t mean that I don’t focus now and put my attention where the industry is going nationally,” he said.
Federal Agriculture Minister Tony Burke says Mr McEwen’s appointment comes at a critical time for the Australian wine industry, which is attempting to restructure in the face of an oversupply.