Media Release: Uncorking the benefits for wine producers

A prosperous future driven by exports beckons for Australia’s wine industry following the passage today of legislation reforming the Wine Equalisation Tax (WET) Rebate.

The Minister for Revenue and Financial Services, the Hon Kelly O’Dwyer MP, said the Australian Government’s move to tighten eligibility for the rebate followed extensive consultation with the industry.

“Through organisations such as the Winemakers’ Federation of Australia, the industry has made a tremendous contribution in designing and delivering the reforms,” Minister O’Dwyer said.

“The Treasury Laws Amendment (2017 Measures No. 4) Bill 2017 will tighten eligibility for the rebate. From 1 July 2018, wine producers will be required to own at least 85 per cent of the grapes used to make the wine throughout the winemaking process and the rebate will be capped at $350,000, down from $500,000.

“This will stop the rebate being claimed multiple times on the same wine through the production chain, where it is subject to blending or further manufacture and then on-sold.

“Transitional arrangements will apply to provide the industry with sufficient time to adjust to the changes.”

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, the Hon Barnaby Joyce MP, said the wine industry in Australia is a vital economic powerhouse for the regions, attracting thousands of international visitors each year. 

“Australian wine exports are expected to exceed $2.5 billion in 2017-18, with benefits flowing to wine producers as well as regional wine producing communities.

“The Australian wine industry contributes $40.2 billion to the Australia economy and creates over 172,000 full and part-time jobs throughout Australia.”

Assistant Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, Senator the Hon Anne Ruston, said the Government was also providing $50 million over four years to the Australian Grape and Wine Authority to promote Australian wine overseas, and providing a new Wine Tourism and Cellar Door grant program that will allow wine producers who have exceeded the rebate cap to access up to an additional $100,000 per financial year on their eligible cellar door sales.

“All of these changes and initiatives are aimed at refocusing the industry on exports where it’s most lucrative and profitable opportunities are,” Minister Ruston said.

“They’re also aimed at eliminating distortions in the domestic market, and transforming how we market Australia’s wine overseas.”

The Government has also made changes to the income tax law to ensure superannuation fund members are not disadvantaged in the transition to new simple, low cost products under the MySuper reforms.

Tax relief is available where a superannuation fund member moved to a MySuper product within the same superannuation provider, ensuring that the retirement balances of these members are protected from any tax payable on the transfer. The changes restore equity between those who chose a MySuper product with a new provider and those who stayed with their existing provider.

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