In the 2016 Federal Budget, the Government announced changes to the WET Producer Rebate (WET Rebate). Wines of WA (WoWA) supports the policy objectives behind the changes, namely addressing integrity concerns, better targeting support, and tightening eligibility for the WET Rebate. However, following extensive consultation with local industry, WoWA is very concerned about the direct and indirect consequences of the announced changes for regional growth and development, and regional communities. These consequences, which we believe are unintended, will have significant negative social and economic impacts in Australia’s regional communities in which wine producers are based.
Industry consultation included:
· A survey of producers conducted by RSM Australia.
· Industry “town-hall meetings” facilitated by Wines of WA and WA Members of the Federal Government. These meetings formed part of an informal consultation process by the Federal Government. Senator Anne Ruston visited most wine producing states in June 2016. The process included 4 meetings in the following regions and towns: Mt Barker, Pemberton, Busselton and Swan Valley.
· Extensive written and verbal communications with Regional Wine Associations. The positions documented in this paper have been ratified by all fine wine regions in WA.
Please see attached a position paper outlining the results of this consultation process. The paper has the endorsement of all Regional Associations
· the negative impacts on WA producers that will result from the proposed changes and;
· alternative amendments that will achieve the same revenue outcomes for government while re-focusing the rebate back to its original purpose of supporting small and medium wine producers in regional and rural Australia
The paper will be distributed to all state and regional associations in Australia andto all relevant government, opposition and cross-bench members and will inform all discussions supporting the position of WA growers and producers.