By Andrew Starke

Microbreweries have welcomed proposed reforms by The Australian Greens, which would look to improve their ability to compete in a domestic market heavily dominated by multinational companies.

The Greens yesterday (Sept 20) called on the government to reform the definition of a microbrewery for tax purposes, helping more innovative small businesses become medium-sized businesses and increasing tax revenues.

Microbreweries can only access the excise refund that other small local producers get if they brew less than 30,000 litres a year.

The Greens believe this limit, and the $10,000 cap on the total refund, is stifling the growth of the industry, allowing further market domination by imported beers.

“Microbreweries have a special place in Australia’s food culture, and they create excellent local jobs in rural and regional areas,” said Australian Greens deputy leader, Senator Christine Milne.

“Like small wineries, microbreweries are also becoming tourist attraction, spurring further development and job creation across the regions.

“But, while small wineries can claim back all the excise they pay under the Wine Equalisation Tax, only breweries of a very small size that is out of step with industry reality can claim an excise rebate.”

General manager of microbrewery The Two Metre Tall Company, Jane Huntington, said she was thrilled to hear of Senator Milne’s proposed Microbrewery Refund reforms, which are set for debate in the Senate this week.

“Excise is an enormous burden for small brewers across the nation and the proposed reforms would provide a financial lifeline to rural and regional businesses such as ours,” she said.

The essence of the motion is outlined as follows:

  • Microbreweries are important niche businesses in Australia, providing valuable job opportunities and economic growth particularly in rural and regional areas;
  • Microbreweries need recognition within the tax system through the Microbrewery Refund, given that they are competing in a domestic market heavily dominated by multinational companies;
  • The Microbrewery Refund was introduced in 2000, and that the definition of a microbrewery has not been reviewed and is now markedly out of step with industry reality;
  • The maximum excise refund has remained capped at $10,000, while the beer excise has been raised twice a year for the last eleven years with CPI.

It calls on the Government to:

  • Amend the definition of a Microbrewery under Excise Regulation 1925 2AB, so that a microbrewery is defined as a brewery that produces up to 300,000 litres of beer annually, replacing the current maximum volume of 30,000 litres;
  • Amend Subparagraph 50 (1) zzd of Excise Regulation 1925 to remove the maximum of $10,000 excise refund that can be claimed in a financial year.

The Shout Team

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  1. Gee, I wonder if anyone would give any consideration to small, or “micro”, retailers, as opposed to the two giants that are destroying Australian retail.

  2. This reform is an must for the micro brewery industry, and the type of reform the industry has been asking to take place from both major parties for about 4 years now, lets hope this small Australian industry gets this urgent boost.

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