Cider Australia welcomes today’s announcement by the Federal Government that it will restrict the Wine Equalisation Tax rebate to genuine cider businesses that sell branded Australian cider and perry.
The WET rebate scheme was designed to support small wine producers in rural and regional Australia but has faced substantial ‘rorting’ and claims by unintended recipients.
Cider Australia president Sam Reid said the reforms acknowledge the local cider producers whose activities directly support rural and regional communities and drive diversity and ongoing growth in the Australian cider market.
“Once these reforms are enacted a cider business will need to own the apples and pears in a product from pressing through to the final packaging, in effect restricting ciders made from imported juice concentrate”, said Mr Reid.
“The reforms reflect Cider Australia’s view that the rebate should only be available to cider made from 100% Australian juice that supports regional agricultural communities in Australia. It’s also a great opportunity for us to start a conversation about Australian Craft Cider, which we feel will be the next growth driver for the category”.
“Cider Australia would like to commend Senator Ruston and her team for the consultative manner in which they have engaged the industry, ensuring a positive outcome for Australian growers and producers”, said Mr Reid.
With the assurance that Australian craft cider producers will continue to be eligible for the rebate, Cider Australia will now refocus its efforts on the definition of cider and truth in cider labelling.
“Cider Australia remains concerned about the impact of cuts to the rebate cap without any change to the current disparate definitions of cider in Australian tax laws and the Australia New Zealand Food Standards (FSANZ) Code and calls on the Government to rectify this and improve the integrity of cider labelling”.
“For instance, globally most countries have a minimum juice content included in their definition of cider and yet we still don’t have any requirement in either of the legal definitions in Australia”.
“We look forward to working with the Government to reform current labelling laws to level the playing field and provide consumers with accurate information about where the fruit in their cider comes from. We believe that this will improve the ability of our members to innovate and capitalise on emerging export opportunities like we have seen in the wine industry”, said Mr Reid.