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Aussie Wine Industry Gets Huge Tax Break

The Australian wine industry has emerged as huge winner from a generous $A30 million tax break negotiated between the Government and the Australian Democrats. John Howard reports.

Under the deal announced yesterday, small wineries will have all of their wine equalisation tax on cellar-door and mail-order sales refunded.

Large wineries will also retain their exisiting exemptions plus new Commonwealth-funded tax breaks worth about $A12 million.

The wine industry has applauded the announcement, saying it was better than it had expected. The president of the Winemaker's Federation of Australia, Brian Croser, said it was "very, very good news for the wine industry."

Senator Lees said the Democrats always recognised the importance of the wine industry and had vigorously defended it. "These rebate arrangements represent a huge win for small wineries and will provide a major boost to regional tourism in which wineries play a very significant part," she said.

New Zealand wineries, who compete on competitive world markets, will no doubt be considering their position if this is as bad as it looks.

Just what the tax arrangements are for New Zealand wineries is not clear, but then, our tax laws are so complex that they are not able to be properly understood by most New Zealander's.

I'm left wondering what rhetoric the Australian Prime Minister might engage in at the upcoming APEC free-trade talks. Then there is CER arrangements between Australia and New Zealand. How does this new tax break affect that?

I don't have the answers but the New Zealand wine industry surely will.

ENDS

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