Microbreweries deserve tax break: Greens

The Australian Greens say they will continue to work for reform to the definition of a microbrewery for tax purposes, despite opposition from other political parties.

The Australian Government, Federal Opposition and the Nationals all voted against the calls to help innovative small businesses become medium-sized, increasing tax revenues yesterday.

Presently, microbreweries can only access the excise refund that other small local producers get if they brew less than 30,000 litres a year.

The Greens say the limit, and the $10,000 cap on the total refund, is stifling the growth of the industry, allowing further market domination by imported beers.

"I’m very disappointed that the government and opposition refuse to appreciate the special place that microbreweries have in Australia’s food culture, and the local jobs in rural and regional areas that they create," Australian Greens Deputy Leader, Christine Milne, said.

"Like small wineries, microbreweries are also becoming tourist attraction, spurring further development and job creation across the regions.

"But, while small wineries can claim back all the excise they pay under the Wine Equalisation Tax, only breweries of a very small size that is out of step with industry reality can claim an excise rebate.

"A study in 2008 by Street Ryan Associates showed that, if the government lifted the threshold for microbreweries, tax receipts would actually increase thanks to the growth of businesses.

"The Greens will keep pushing the government to consider this easy step that will not only help small businesses become medium-sized businesses but also help all Australians, when we drink responsibly, to drink great quality Australian beer.

"Those who support this simple change should contact their representatives at the tax summit and ask that it be put on the agenda."

Opposition Senate leader Eric Abetz has admitted that making it easier for microbreweries to operate would create higher turnover and more tax dollars for the government, but is still not taking a position on the issue.


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