Federal Government Backing Our Local Wine Industry
Monday, 5 December 2016
The Mornington Peninsula winemakers have been influential in the development of enhanced changes to the Federal Government’s Wine Equalisation Tax (WET) Rebate.
The changes will better assist grape growing, winemaking, associated tourism and local jobs in regional Australia, including here on the Peninsula.
Over recent months the Turnbull Government, led by Assistant Minister for Agriculture, Anne Ruston has undertaken extensive consultations with the wine industry on the Mornington Peninsula to guarantee that the WET Rebate scheme reflects its original purpose.
The key changes to the Government’s eligibility criteria to protect the integrity of the WET Rebate scheme include:
• Eligible producers must own 85 per cent of the grapes at the crusher used to make the wine, and maintain ownership throughout the wine making process;
• The Rebate is limited to branded packaged wine, in a container not exceeding 5 litres and branded with a registered trademark for domestic retail sale; and
• The Rebate claims must be better linked to the WET being paid.
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 originally announced in the 2016 Budget.
The Government is also announcing a new Wine Tourism and Cellar Door grant scheme to provide up to $100,000 per annum to producers who exceed the $350,000 Rebate cap.
This grant will be greatly beneficial to the eight Mornington Peninsula wineries that currently claim over the $350,000 cap and are responsible for 53% of production within the region. The region was a strong advocate for the additional funding mechanism, which ensures that there is continued investment in our region’s wine industry.
The Government has listened carefully to the Mornington Peninsula winemakers and tailored a national package so wine producers who build brands, invest in regional communities and create local jobs are the beneficiaries of the rebate, and not the traders and major retailers.
These changes to the WET Rebate, which include the tightening of the eligibility criteria in order to prevent exploitation of the scheme, will be of significant benefit to our local wine industry.
The eligibility criteria to qualify for the new grant will be finalised following consultation with the industry.
These reforms along with our Budget commitment of $50 million to promote Australian wine internationally and domestically will be a springboard for growth.
The final WET Rebate reforms will be introduced into Parliament next year and the new eligibility criteria will apply from 1 July 2018.