Wine Victoria Welcomes WET Reforms as Win for Victorian Industry

Written by  Wine Victoria Friday, 02 December 2016

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Wine VictoriaWine Victoria, the peak body representing the Victorian wine industry, has welcomed today’s announcement’s on reforms to Wine Equalisation Tax (WET) rebate from Senator Senator Anne Ruston, Assistant Minister for Agriculture and Water ResourcesAnne Ruston, Assistant Minister for Agriculture and Water Resourcesand The Hon. Kelly O’Dwyer Minister for Revenue and Financial ServicesThe Hon. Kelly O’Dwyer Minister for Revenue and Financial Services.

Wine Victoria Chair, Damien Sheehan, said that an early review of the government’s statements shows reforms are on track to deliver positive outcomes for the Victorian wine industry.
 
“We commend the Government’s commitment to deliver crucial reforms on the WET rebate, that balances the objectives of much needed support for our members while also preventing access to the rebate from those rorting the system,” said Mr Sheehan.
 
“We look forward to working with the government on ensuring these objectives are met,” said Mr Sheehan
 

Today's announcements included the following details on reform:

  • Eligible producers must own 85% of the grapes at the crusher used to make the wine, and maintain ownership throughout the process;
  • The rebate is limited to branded packaged wine, in a container not exceeding 5L and branded with a registered trademark for domestic retail sale; and 
  • The rebate claims must be better linked to the WET being paid. 

The new eligibility criteria will apply from 1 July 2018.
 
The rebate cap will be reduced from $500,000 to $350,000 effective from 1 July 2018, which is a year later, and a higher cap, than announced in the 2016 Budget.
 
To encourage more wine tourism, a further $100,000 per annum will be made available to producers who exceed the rebate cap through a new Wine Tourism and Cellar Door grant.

Since the Government’s May 2016 budget announcement, Wine Victoria has undergone extensive consultation with our members to understand the impacts of proposed changes.
 
“Wine Victoria has also worked with other industry representatives to communicate a united industry position on this issue, It is clear through today’s announcement the government has listened to our concerns and acted accordingly,” said Mr Sheehan.
 
“We are particularly pleased to see Assistant Minister RustonAssistant Minister Ruston has recongised the diversity of the Wine Victoria membership and has delivered eligibility reforms that will work for our small, medium and larger producers – most of whom operate their businesses in regional Victoria,” said Mr Sheehan.
 
The Board of Wine Victoria also wishes to thank the following associations for their cooperative involvement in reaching a national position: Winemakers Federation of Australia (WFA)Winemakers Federation of Australia (WFA), Australian VigneronsAustralian Vignerons,  South Australian Wine Industry Association (SAWIA)South Australian Wine Industry Association (SAWIA)Wines of Western AustraliaWines of Western AustraliaNew South Wales WineWines of TasmaniaWines of Tasmania, and the Queensland Wine Industry AssociationQueensland Wine Industry Association.
 
Wine Victoria recognises today’s announced reforms may initially have some adverse impacts on some members of industry, however an industry focus on branded product and our strong advocacy on ensuring positive state and federal policies in tourism, export and research and development will enable companies to adjust and be more profitable.
 
“The first step in this direction will be to work with Assistant Minister Ruston on ensuring that Victoria’s needs are represented in the delivery of $50 million in federal funding for wine tourism and trade opportunities,” said Mr Sheehan.

For more information on this matter please contact:

Rachael Sweeney

Wine Victoria Executive Officer

(03) 9666 3368 or (04) 22 067 858

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