The Turnbull Government today announced enhancements to the Wine Equalisation Tax (WET) Rebate to better assist grape growing, winemaking and associated tourism in regional Australia.
These reforms come on the back of extensive consultation with the wine industry. The reforms are the result of industry calling for action to support our great Australian wine industry by addressing distortions in the market through the misuse and exploitation of the WET Rebate scheme.
Following a national consultation program with the wine industry as announced in the 2016 Budget, and led by Ministers Kelly O'Dwyer and Anne Ruston, we are pleased to announce key changes to the Government's eligibility criteria to protect the integrity of the WET Rebate scheme:
- Eligible producers must own 85% 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 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 up to 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. Again the Government wants to back producers who add value and vibrancy to regional communities by encouraging visitors to wine regions. The eligibility criteria to qualify for the new grant will be finalised following consultation with the industry.
"This is a good news story for wine producers and wine regions," Minister O'Dwyer said.
"We have listened carefully to industry and tailored the 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."
"The Australian wine industry is more than just a great drop. It's a major employer, manufacturer and driver of tourism in regional communities. These reforms along with our Budget commitment of $50 million to promote Australian wine internationally and domestically will be a springboard for growth," Minister Ruston said.
These changes are a win for constructive collaboration between Government and industry.
These final WET Rebate reforms will be introduced into Parliament next year.