Following on from round 1 and round 2 of the developing WET rebate issue, the Assistant Treasurer Kelly O’Dwyer has now released a new press release which somewhat clarifies the controversial earlier media release around the WET rebate eligibility.
The only problem is that this new press release continues to repeat the vague notion (which goes against Treasury’s own Consultative Group recommendations) that WET rebates will only be available to those with a winery!
You can read the new press release here. There are two paragraphs, in particular, that are most relevant, starting with this:
‘The additional tightened eligibility criteria will limit access to the WET Rebate to packaged, branded wine which is for sale to domestic consumers. This will exclude bulk and unbranded wine from the WET Rebate. The new criteria would also restrict access to those with a significant interest in a winery.’
I wrote on Thursday about just how problematic that that last sentence could be, yet it was again repeated. Curious. That said, this new press release also goes on to say:
‘The Government recognises that there are a range of wine production models in the industry, including grape growers who have a real investment in the industry, but may not own equipment for crushing and fermentation’
If that is the case, then why repeat the early statement that the rebate will only apply to those with a ‘significant interest in a winery’? How does that even work? Either this is – again – a poorly worded press release which fails to distinguish between a ‘producer’ and a ‘winery’ as I suggested on Thursday or small producers are indeed going to be hurt by these reforms.
Which is it going to be?