Associations and trade bodies from across the liquor and hospitality industry have largely welcomed last night’s Federal Budget, which offered good news for brewers, distillers, exporters and small businesses.

The plans to change the excise rate on smaller beer kegs, and increase the alcohol excise refund scheme were revealed earlier this week.

That news was welcomed, with Chair of the Independent Brewers Association, Ben Kooyman, saying: “This is great news for independent brewers, great news for consumers and great news for job creation.

“Having the Federal Government make these changes shows that they realise what an amazing industry we have and will enable our members to expand.

“Australia’s 450 small, independent brewers will take that additional excise rebate and invest it back in their businesses.”

President of the Australian Distillers Association, Stu Gregor, welcomed the excise refund increase, but took the opportunity to remind Parliament of its position on spirits taxation in Australia.

“The excise break is terrific news and sensible policy from the government and we warmly welcome it. We also are pumped for our craft beer mates who won’t get slugged if they want to use smaller kegs,” Gregor told TheShout.

“We still have some way to go to get proper equity in excise but the increase in the rebate from $30,000 to $100,000 is terrific news and we thank the Treasurer and also we thank all those distillers and consumers who have been lobbying their local members on this issue for the past couple of years.”

As more details on the Budget were revealed last night, the Winemakers’ Federation of Australia (WFA) welcomed the announcement that six new agricultural counsellors would be appointed in the Department of Agriculture.

Tony Battaglene, Chief Executive of Winemakers Federation of Australia, said: “Agricultural counsellors are vital to the development and maintenance of markets for our agricultural exports.  WFA has worked closely with the network of agricultural counsellors around the world, with the most recent success being the reduction in major technical barriers to trade in Vietnam.

“The government’s emphasis on improved access for agriculture to overseas markets is most welcome. The wine sector will benefit from these initiatives as will rural and regional Australia.”

Battaglene also welcomed the recognition of agriculture as a vital cog in the Australian economy and commended the government for its increased investment in biosecurity.

“The additional $101.6m earmarked to better protect our borders is vital to security of supply and our ability to meet growing export demand.”

Treasurer Scott Morrison also announced last night that the $20,000 instant asset write-off, for businesses with an aggregated turnover of less than $10m, would be extended, a move also welcomed by Battaglene.

“Relief for small producers, with the Budget continuing the immediate asset write-off for small business assets under $20,000 is also welcome,” he said.

This scheme means small businesses can claim immediate reductions for assets purchased, with a value of up to $20,000, but the assets must installed and ready for use before 30 June 2019.

Andy Young

Andy joined Intermedia as Editor of The Shout in 2015, writing news on a daily basis and also writing features for National Liquor News. Now Managing Editor of both The Shout and Bars and Clubs.

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