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“We have a plan and we know what must be done” WFA responds to tax review

The Winemakers’ Federation of Australia (WFA) has welcomed the federal review announced into the nation’s tax system.

Paul Evans, WFA chief executive, said the review would be an opportunity to highlight the role Australian wine plays in supporting tens of thousands of regional jobs.

“Industry profitability, structure, production risks and the economic footprint of Australian wine compared to spirits and beer are very different and clearly justify why wine warrants a different tax rate,” Evans said.

Making it clear that WFA intend to use the upcoming tax review to re-affirm wine’s position, Evans said it will also be important to highlight the significant contribution wine makes to Australia’s socio-economic and export footprints.

“While the review is important and welcomed, our focus remains firmly on working with Government on our action plan for the industry’s recovery and achieving progress at the 2015 May Federal Budget,” he said. “We have a plan and we know what must be done.”

Evans said the wine industry’s focus should be gaining one-off supplementary marketing from the Government to boost the promotion of Australian wine.

“With the Australian dollar softening, global consumer sentiment improving – especially in the key North American market – and the opportunities free trade agreements present us with, a window of opportunity has been created,” he said.

Evans said the industry needs adequate resources to re-introduce the quality and diversity to wine buyers and consumers and shift demand to recover share and margin.

“We can offset this expenditure by making some limited reforms to the wine equalization tax (WET) rebate including the abolition of the separate and unfair New Zealand producers’ rebate and the phasing- out of the rebate on bulk and unbranded wine,” he said. “We have already been talking to Government, Members of Parliament and the Australian Tax Office about reforming the WET rebate to ensure it remains sustainable and continues to support regional Australia in the long term – areas of course we will detail in our tax submission.”






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