WET Rebate submission

Friday, Sep 11, 2015

Through its membership SAWIA is taking a keen interest in the wine equalisation tax rebate following release of the Federal Government’s discussion paper.
SAWIA has consulted its members and following consideration of the member feedback has made a submission to The Treasury of the Australian Government.

Taking into consideration many of the issues canvassed in the discussion paper, SAWIA members are in general supportive of reforms made by the Winemakers’ Federation of Australia to the wine equalisation tax rebate.  SAWIA’s position includes:

 A return of the WET rebate to its original policy intent allowing for the continuation of support to wine businesses, employment, tourism and communities in wine regions.

  • Members want unintended recipients of the WET rebate to cease receiving the rebate and examples of schemes specifically created to claim the WET rebate should be investigated and closed as necessary. In addition, if schemes are identified that are contrary to WET rebate laws, industry associations should be advised to assist respective memberships comply with the law.
  • A phase out of the WET rebate on bulk, unbranded and unpackaged wine over a four year period at 25% per annum.  Given there are views for and against such a proposal close monitoring after the first twelve months of operation should occur to assess if the change meets intended outcomes.
  • Support changes to the New Zealand WET rebate scheme which would result in abolishing the legislated NZ rebate scheme but provide for WET rebate claims on the same operational conditions for all wine producers regardless of nationality.
  • Support the introduction of a transitional measure to encourage consolidation, allowing a second rebate      on a merger of two businesses (which are entitled to the rebate) to remain with the new entity but phased out at 25% per year over 4 years.
  • Support additional funding for      market related programs (derived from WET rebate reform savings) for a finite period that can be applied to address wine market issues.  Clearly the industry is best placed to determine what programs should be undertaken to address specific markets,  to address specific industry issues and industry involvement is crucial and paramount to success.  The ultimate decision on which organisation (whether it be regional, state or national) is best placed to undertake agreed activity rests with industry.
  • Where proposed reforms result in adverse impacts for either grape growing and / or winemaking businesses, there should be support provided for these businesses who genuinely are experiencing hardship as a result of transition measures.

A copy of the submission can be found here.