The Turnbull Government has enhanced the Wine Equalisation Tax (WET) Rebate to better assist grape growing, winemaking, associated tourism and local jobs in the South West.

As announced in the Budget, the Government has undertaken extensive consultations with the wine industry to get the design of the WET Rebate scheme right.

The key changes to the Government’s eligibility criteria to protect the integrity of the WET Rebate scheme 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.

“These changes to the WET Rebate, to tighten the eligibility criteria to prevent exploitation of the scheme, will be of significant benefit to our local wine industry” Member for Forrest Nola Marino said. “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 are the beneficiaries of the Rebate, and not the traders and major retailers.”

“These reforms, along with our Budget commitment of $50 million to promote Australian wine internationally and domestically, will be a springboard for growth.”

The final WET Rebate reforms will be introduced into Parliament next year, and the eligibility criteria to qualify for the new grant will be finalised following consultation with the industry.