The Federal Government has taken a step towards placing small distillers on an equal tax footing with wine producers.
Treasurer Josh Frydenburg has committed to increasing the current excise refund scheme for craft distillers from $100,000 to $350,000.
The Federal Member for Mayo Rebekha Sharkie and Independent Member for Clark in Tasmania, Andrew Wilkie, have been advocating for an end to the 'unfair' tax regime on Australia’s local craft distillers, with a motion in Parliament in March and recent discussions with the Treasurer.
“Increasing the current excise refund scheme will allow our distillers to make those crucial investments in their businesses. Investments such as plant and equipment, employing new staff or covering the costs of exporting which will allow them to put their products on the world stage," Rebekha Sharkie said.
According to the Centre Alliance member, the tax regime on spirits is a legacy from the time when the vast majority of hard liquor was imported from overseas and the Government was attempting to incentivise the local wine and brandy industry.
“I now call on the Government to also cut the spirits excise to the brandy rate and freeze the spirits and brandy CPI indexation for three years to provide the full measure of tax relief for this growing industry," Ms Sharkie said.
Modelling commissioned by the industry shows tax on spirits is so high that it is having a perverse impact on consumer behaviour with Australians buying fewer local products because of the higher price.
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