One of Australia's biggest table grape companies says it is going to rip up vines and scrap its million dollar plan to expand in the Northern Territory, because it claims the NT Government has backflipped on its water allocation.
Marciano Table Grapes, which runs farms across the nation, has been growing grapes near the small outback community of Ti Tree for more than a decade, and in recent years has invested heavily to expand the farm towards 60 hectares of vines.
Owner Phillip Marciano said prior dealings with the government gave him confidence there would be enough water made available for irrigation, but so far that water had not been granted and a recent allocation plan had left him feeling like there is "no future" in the NT for his business.
"The direction I was given was that [the NT Government] was looking for future developments of agriculture in this area, but obviously it's now a different direction [under the new draft Ti Tree Water Allocation Plan]," Marciano said.
"There's no point me spending millions of dollars here if there's no water [allocated]. The way it's looking, I'll be chopping vineyards down, we'll be cutting [down] excessive amounts of acres. We had ordered vines and bores to go into place, we had avocado trees ordered for a trial … but I've put a stop to all of this because there's no water for us to expand.”
"The area here doesn't need growth apparently, so we're looking to expand to other areas in Queensland, because the government there [unlike the Northern Territory] has given us incentives with water and land."