Measuring the Impact - the economic and social consequences of WET Rebate reform in Western Australia

In the 2016/17 budget, the Federal Government announced a range of measures it intended to introduce to address reforms to current WET Rebate legislation.

 Some of the proposed measures and initiatives are welcome and go a long way towards addressing industry and government concerns with the way the rebate currently operates. However, as a high value, fine wine production industry, there are 2 items that would have disproportionately negative economic and social consequences in Western Australia.

 These are:

 1.       Reduction in the WET Rebate cap; and
2.       Eligibility criteria for the WET Rebate that would stifle innovation and the next generation of wine producers

 As an industry we note and welcome the Government’s commitment to a full consultation process when addressing these issues.

 As announced in our press release on the 6th May, we will measure the significant negative economic and social impacts that these proposed changes may have on the WA wine industry via a survey to the WA Wine Industry.

 The survey will be administered by accounting firm RSM Australia and will determine:

  •        how many producers would be affected by changes to eligibility for the rebate (not withstanding the consultation process on eligibility);
  •        how many producers would be affected by a reduction in the cap on the rebate and its total value;
  •        the quantum of rebate lost via cellar door and;
  •        the likely impact this would have on jobs and future regional development in WA
  •        the likely impact the above would have on regional tourism in WA

The WA wine industry is a $700 million industry providing significant economic flow-on benefits to the mainly regional areas in which it operates.

 It is essential that the federal government is fully informed of the potential economic and social consequences of the proposed changes in Western Australia.

We look forward to presenting the data to industry and government and look forward to fully participating in the consultative process.

Larry Jorgensen
Chief Executive Officer
Wines of WA
T – 08 9284 3355
E –
W –

Response to 2016 Budget WET Rebate Reforms

Wines of Western Australia (WoWA) welcomes the introduction of WET rebate integrity measures that reflect our core principles for WET reform. We believe the new measures will address market distortions surrounding the rebate.

We note also that the Government has listened to WoWA by allocating a portion of the $50 million marketing recovery plan to regionally based wine tourism activities. We look forward to continued dialogue on this allocation.

We reinforce our support for the new measures, including:

  • Maintaining the rebate under WET legislation and not a burdensome grants scheme.
  • $50 million dollars over 4 years to support growing export demand for Australian wine and promoting regional wine tourism. Wines of WA advocated strongly for a portion of these funds to be delivered directly to regional marketing and are pleased to see this included in the budget.
  • Introduction of stronger anti-avoidance provisions to remove access to the rebate from contrived arrangements;
  • Tightening the eligibility criteria in line with the rebate's original intent to support small regionally based winemakers with branded product who have made significant, ongoing investments in regional Australia and removing the rebate for bulk and unbranded wine.

The WA wine industry looks forward to further consultation on the finer details of eligibility criteria for small producers. We are encouraged that this process will occur to ensure genuine small wine producer participants who are delivering ongoing investment and jobs in regional Australia are not excluded. It is imperative that this consultative process is completed as soon as is practicable to provide investment certainty for industry.

The Government has elected to reduce the cap back to its original rebate level of $290,000 by July 2018.  We do not and did not support this. A discussion about a fairer and simpler taxation mechanism is now required. Preliminary estimates indicate WA will be disproportionately affected by this measure with 60 to 70 producers now worse off. We will be providing further economic data to the Government in due course to support our position that the cap should remain at $500,000. We request that the government should remain open minded to our position on delivering the full $500,000 rebate to small winemakers in regional areas as we transition from the mining boom. When we couple this with the legal inability to solve the rebate going to New Zealand, our continued dialogue with government will examine this issue of equality. With the full rebate in place, WA’s fine wine producers will contribute significantly to the government’s national economic plan announced on Tuesday night.

The core principles for WET Rebate reform set out in the attached pre-budget media statement remain the position of the WA wine industry.

For further information, contact:

Redmond Sweeny
President Wines of WA
08 9284 3355

Funding Grants for Women in Agriculture

In 2016 Women & Leadership Australia is administering a national initiative to support the development of female leaders across the agriculture sector.

From February 10th 2016 the initiative will provide women in the agriculture sector with grants for leadership development. More specifically, grant applications are open to women employed in the agriculture sector at two levels. Please click on the preferred program link for details.  The deadline for expressing your interest for this funding in your sector ends on March 31st.

Senior Management and Executive level Women Leaders can apply for $12,000 Individual Grants to undertake the Advanced Leadership Program.

Women Managers can apply for $5,000 Individual Grants to undertake the Accelerated Leadership Performance Program.

Expressions of Interest

Should you wish to discuss the initiative in more detail please contact Ian Johnson at the office of the National Industry Scholarship Program, Australian School of Applied Management on 03 9270 9016 or via

For more information

Demand Driving Wine Industry Course

Western Australia’s Curtin University is experiencing strong interest in its wine graduate diploma, preparing to increase its February intake at the Margaret River campus.

The Graduate Diploma Oenology is a seven-unit course covering practical and theoretical studies of wine production, science, viticulture and marketing.

Course coordinator Dave Kelly said the short course seems to be an attractive option and there has been increased interest from people across Australia looking to join the wine industry.

“The Graduate Diploma provides an excellent pathway to enter into key areas of wine making, viticulture and wine marketing.

“The Grad Dip is designed to both introduce people to the industry as well as advance the skills of people already within the wine sector.

 “We’ve therefore increased the numbers for the February intake, with a few spots still open for interested people.

“While the course covers solid scientific and practical studies, it’s also broad enough to allow graduates to work in different areas of the wine industry, not just in traditional wine making.”

Current wine industry workers without previous university study may also apply on the basis of prior learning.

The course takes one year full time with study options for part time. The first intake commences February 29. To enrol and for more information contact Dave Kelly on (08) 9780 5800 or email

Fire Affects Geographe Wine Producers

A number of wine producers in the Geographe Wine region were directly threatened by fire caused when lightning struck Dwellingup to the north east of the region, on Wednesday 6th January. Fire quickly spread due to high winds and high temperatures in a south westerly direction, towards the towns of Waroona, Yarloop, Cookernup and Harvey.

Under direct threat from the fire were Vineyard 28, Bagieau Road off the Forrest Highway close to Preston Beach, and Moojelup Farm on Thompson Road, Cookernup.  Owners of both vineyards made the decision to defend their properties over an extremely difficult four days with the assistance of neighbours and family members. Also under threat was Fifth Estate in Harvey who also had a close call with the fire only 4 kms from their vineyard.

All three wine producers are pleased to announce that none of their vines were lost, or property destroyed, although Moojelup Farm lost 15ha of pasture, fencing and hay as a direct result of the fire. For the affected wine producers it is business as usual for customers wanting to purchase their wines.  Vineyard 28, however, has announced their cellar door will be closed until further notice while they assess the damage to the surrounding area.

Vineyard 28 owner Pippa Nielsen said, “we are so relieved and thankful to our neighbours for their help, without them there would be no Vineyard 28. It really was touch and go on Friday when fire surrounded the property”.

Conditions eased over the weekend with cooler temperatures and a drop in the wind gave much needed respite to firefighters throughout the affected area.

Whilst most of the immediate danger was in the north of the Geographe Wine region and in the Peel Wine region, smoke and ash were experienced up to 120kms south in the Margaret River Wine region, and the total area damaged by fire in excess of 72,000 hectares.

The Christmas Spirit is alive and well - Esperance Fire Appeal

The Christmas Spirit is alive and well - Esperance Fire Appeal

We would like to thank all the wineries, distributors and regional association who kindly organised and donated generously to this appeal.

Thank you for your support. Your donation is going to a worthy cause and will be greatly appreciated.

Kind donations were from -

Frankland Estate
Victory Point
Grace Farm
Nights Harvest
Bella Ridge
Domaine Naturaliste
Willoughby Park
Willow Bridge Estate
Producers from the Swan Valley Regional Association
Terra Wines Distributor
Distinctive Vintners


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50 Star Buys of 2015

50 Star Buys of 2015

Decanter - January 2016
by Peter Richards MW, Sarah Jane Evans MW and Xavier Rousset MS

From the thousands of wines tasted and rated by Decanter's expert judges and writers over the past 12 months, we have picked out 50 of the highest-scoring bottle available in the UK. And with 14 of them under 20 pounds, there's a host of affordable treats on the following pages to kickstart your seasonal festivities.

#Vasse Felix #Xanadu #FraserGallop #Leeuwin

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