By Andrew Starke

Greens’ spokesperson for health, Senator Richard Di Natale, has backed calls for the reform of the Wine Equalisation Tax (WET) after attending a tax forum.

“The Greens are calling for an overhaul of the system, in line with the Henry Tax Review, NGOs, the public health community and even some major wine producers,” said Senator Di Natale.

“We need a more consistent system that doesn't reward wine producers for making the cheapest product possible and in vast quantities.

“The perverse incentives of the current system allow cask wine, which is a staple for alcoholics, to be cheaper than bottled water.

“The wine taxation system is partly to blame for the problems the industry is currently experiencing. So now is the perfect time for reform in this area.”

Earlier this week, Premium Wine Brands blamed the current taxation system for the wine glut in their submission to the Tax Forum while Treasury Wine Estates CEO, David Dearie, called for the WET rebate to be ‘abolished or fundamentally reformed’.

Di Natale backed the calls to put alcohol tax reform back on the agenda for the October Tax Forum.

“The government line that ‘they cannot reform alcohol taxation during the wine glut’ has come undone,” she said.

“In fact the government needs to address alcohol taxation in order to provide relief from the wine glut and help curb binge drinking.”

However the Winemakers’ Federation of Australia (WFA) said excessive drinking was better addressed through education and cultural change.

“Cask and cleanskin wine is presently being sold at low prices due to the oversupply and not the tax system,” said a spokesperson.

“This is not an Australian story, but a global story across countries with differing tax systems.”

The Shout Team

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  1. If the government is fair dinkum about stopping problem drinking, then all alcoholic drinks should be taxed based on the number of standard drinks per container. Currently the tax (WET) on a bottle of cheap port with 9 standard drinks is about $2, while the excise tax on a bottle of spirits with 23 standard drinks is over $20. It’s unfair and doesn’t address problem drinking.

  2. What a financial joke this is on the majority (99%+) of normal people who enjoy a glass of wine responsibly. As an industry we all practice daily the responsible service of alcohol to minimise harm. Lets be careful that this agenda is not driven by companies that will gain a financial benefit from such a tax reform. Harming people or growing big business profits, I wonder what is the true agenda?

  3. I agree with you,Guy.Wine is the only real vice I have,and in most cases I drink it with meals.This is only punishing the people who drink responsibly.

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