Local, Independant and Effective
February 16, 2016

Major cross-border issue addressed in Australian Grape and Wine Industry report

Independent Member for Indi, Cathy McGowan AO, has welcomed an Australian Grape and Wine Industry report recommendation to solve a cross-border issue for Indi wineries. Ms McGowan said as a direct result of the work of Winemakers of Rutherglen, the report recommends a national Responsible Service of Alcohol (RSA) accreditation be established. Winemakers of Rutherglen and Ms McGowan lobbied hard to solve this cross-border issue.

“Under current arrangements, each state requires its own RSA certificate,” Ms McGowan said. “This fix is simple and will save wineries money and paperwork. It impacts the people who serve at winery stands, many of them young, because of the cost to get an RSA certificate in different states. In 2014, costs varied from $70 in Victoria, $80 in SA and QLD, and up to $150 in NSW.”

The Australian Grape and Wine Industry report was released on Friday. Full report and recommendations can be found online.

Pizzini Wines marketing manager Natalie Pizzini said the Wine Equalisation Tax (WET) rebate needed to be reviewed to continue supporting smaller wineries. Ms Pizzini said a commitment from the Government is needed to ensure winemakers investing in regional Victoria are not disadvantaged. “Reform is necessary in the industry, as long as it is not at the expense of smaller wine makers and grape growers that provide diversity and economic benefits to regional Australia,” Ms Pizzini said.

Alpine Valley Vignerons president Micheal Freudenstein said his group would consider the recommendations, with a particular interest around proposed measures to phase out the WET rebate. Mr Freudenstein said any reforms must help smaller wineries remain competitive.

Report recommendations – four key for Indi

  • Government phase out current WET rebate over five years, allocate savings to a structural adjustment, including an annual grant to genuine cellar door operators
  • Change labelling requirements to show whether wine is produced under control of a major retailer
  • COAG work with states and territories to establish arrangements for national RSA program
  •  Review Australian Wine Industry Code of Conduct with potential for mandatory subscription

Local contacts

AVV president Micheal Freudenstein – 0488 258 997 

Pizzini Wines Natalie Pizzini - 5729 8278

Winemakers of Rutherglen chair Belinda Chambers - (02) 6032 9449

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