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Tuesday, 2 April 2019
Page: 14543


Ms SHARKIE (Mayo) (20:44): The electorate of Mayo is a hotspot for craft brewers and they are important in growing the tourism industry for us in our region. They complement our region's reputation for fine wines, gins, ciders and spirits. As a multitude of ministers can attest, I have been a very persistent advocate for a fair deal for the craft brewers in my electorate, so I warmly welcome the Treasury Laws Amendment (2019 Measures No. 1) Bill 2019 and the related bill, which puts my key recommendation into law. I first wrote extensively to the then Treasurer, now Prime Minister, about the unique challenges that craft brewing businesses face: a thoroughly complex excise regime and the resultant cash flow management challenges that put a brake on expansion plans; market access concerns with pubs and clubs inevitability giving preferential treatment to the big market players; and, critically, a higher rate of excise being levied against the smaller kegs that craft brewers prefer to use. It is ridiculous and fundamentally unfair that a higher rate of tax existed on smaller kegs than on larger kegs. Of the multitude of issues faced by craft brewers, I made levelling this playing field my primary objective. I followed up on my correspondence with numerous meetings with government and I lodged detailed questions in writing on the Notice Paper. Finally, unrelenting persistence and the value of reasoned and logical policy reform shone through.

It will come as no surprise that I warmly welcomed the government's decision and announcement to finally level this playing field. No longer would craft brewers have to pay more, simply because they wanted to ship their beer in smaller kegs. I know that I have not been the only advocate. I acknowledge in particular the member for Grayndler—I do not have a beer named after me!

An honourable member: Yet!

Ms SHARKIE: Yet! I recognise the efforts of many in this chamber in getting a fair deal for craft brewers. I also want to acknowledge the efforts of Corinna and Frank from the award-winning Prancing Pony Brewery in Mount Barker. If you are in Mount Barker, please get along. It is a fantastic venue. They first approached me to discuss the challenges their sector faces. Corinna and Frank have spoken to me about how big a win these changes are for them and their business. The changes give them the opportunity to sell their products into smaller venues and have the occupational health and safety advantage of moving kegs that weigh 35 kilograms rather than 65 kilograms. This legislation is the culmination of the collective efforts of many in this chamber and beyond this chamber and I therefore commend the bill to the House.