On Wednesday Wine Victoria (WV) held a facilitated workshop regarding the Wine Equalisation Tax (WET) rebate with Regional Wine Associations (RWAs). The RWAs that participated were; Yarra Valley Wine Growers Association, Mornington Peninsula Vignerons Association, Geelong Winegrowers Association, Heathcote Winegrowers' Association, Winemakers of Rutherglen, Grampians Winemakers and Macedon Ranges Vignerons Association.
The WET Rebate Workshop was held to discuss and agree on key elements of the reform, mainly the cap and the eligibility criteria. The need for a workshop became clear after findings from a recent Winemakers’ Federation Australia (WFA) survey identified a range of disparate, conflicting and competing views on the WET reform. Discussions from the workshop are being used to develop a Victorian position on the reform.
A range of views from participants were shared, and vigorous discussion brought us to an agreed position for Wine Victoria to take forward.
The meeting outcome resulted in the following:
- Support for WFA’s position to retain the cap at the current level on the basis that the proposed reductions poses a risk to regional jobs and investment.
- Support for the Australian Government’s position on the removal of bulk and unbranded wine and the original timeline of phase out by 2019. WV will seek information from WFA and the government on the evidence that bulk and unbranded wines sales are a significant driver of rorting.
- Recommending the eligibility criteria be amended so that:
o each taxable entity (or group) is eligible for only one claim of the WET Rebate – regardless of how many brands they own;
o only the beneficial owner of the brand/s can claim the WET Rebate
On Friday, Wine Victoria is attending a meeting hosted by the Winemakers Federation of Australia, along with other states and regions to work through the detail on a national position on refom.