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Member for O’Connor Rick Wilson MP says the Government’s enhancements to the Wine Equalisation Tax (WET) Rebate will better assist grape growing, winemaking, associated tourism and local jobs in regional WA.

Mr Wilson said the reforms were designed on the back of extensive consultations with the wine industry, which had requested the Government’s support in addressing the misuse and exploitation of the scheme.

The key changes to the Government’s eligibility criteria include:

  • Eligible producers must own 85 per cent of the grapes at the crusher used to make the wine, and maintain ownership throughout the wine making process;
  • the Rebate is limited to branded packaged wine, in a container not exceeding 5 litres and branded with a registered trademark for domestic retail sale; and
  • the Rebate claims must be better linked to the WET being paid.

The new eligibility criteria will apply from 1 July 2018.

The Rebate cap will be reduced from $500,000 to $350,000 effective from 1 July 2018, which is a year later, and a higher cap, than announced in the 2016 Budget.

The Government is also announcing a new Wine Tourism and Cellar Door grant scheme to provide up to $100,000 per annum to producers who exceed the $350,000 Rebate cap.

Mr Wilson said the changes would restore the integrity of the WET rebate and ensure that it actually served its intended purpose.

“The WET rebate was designed to support regional and rural wine producers, but the industry approached the Government to express concerns that the scheme was being exploited,” he said.

“We’ve undertaken an extremely thorough consultation process with the industry – Ann Ruston, the Assistant Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, personally came to O’Connor earlier this year.

“Senator Ruston and I met with winemakers and producers during public forums in Pemberton and Mount Barker, where we listened to their concerns and took their feedback on board.

“The Government has listened carefully to industry and tailored the package so wine producers who build brands, invest in regional communities and create local jobs benefit from the Rebate, not the traders and major retailers.”

The eligibility criteria to qualify for the new grant will be finalised following consultation with the industry.

The final WET Rebate reforms will be introduced into Parliament next year.

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MEET RICK

I was inspired to run for Parliament following my involvement in a decade-long campaign to deregulate the wheat industry, which brought about the end of the Australia Wheat Board’s monopoly.

“I stand proudly for the Liberal philosophy of free markets, vigorous competition, small government and individual responsibility. These are the principles that guide me in my life and in this place. My track record in public life shows clearly that I am prepared to stand up for those principles.”

“To the electors of O'Connor, I reiterate the commitment that I have made to work tirelessly on your behalf, to always be frank and honest about the challenges we face, and to work cooperatively and collaboratively to improve the lives of the people who live in the greatest part of the greatest nation on earth”

– Rick Wilson MP Maiden Speech.