The Nationals Senator for Victoria Bridget McKenzie has confirmed the Government has no plan to increase the tax rate on traditional cider.
The Economics Senate Committee last night revealed calls to tax cider at the same rate as pre-mixed drinks and spirits had been ignored.
“This is brilliant news for central Victoria’s Harcourt district, which is home to three cider-making ventures,” Senator McKenzie said.
“Traditional cider is currently taxed at the Wine Equalisation Tax rate, but recent pre-budget industry submissions had pushed to move it to the higher spirits excise rate.
“The decision is a win for an industry that has fought the government on a range of policies affecting production over the last few years, including water use and the importation of New Zealand apples.
“The excise rate would have unfairly targeted those who have worked hard to diversify their businesses.”
Senator McKenzie said local industry leaders feared a possible tax hike would have effectively shut down Harcourt’s cider industry.
“The excise rate would have pushed the price of traditional cider up by 30 per cent.
“It would have also had an adverse effect on growers, as Harcourt’s cider makers use apples and pears sourced locally for their products.”
Senator McKenzie said the concerned cider makers were thrilled with the outcome.
“They are relieved, it means they can remain competitive whilst growing and processing local product.
“The announcement ensures the industry, and those who depend on it, can continue to thrive.”