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Thursday, 15 March 1973
Page: 632


Mr LLOYD (Murray) - I support the measure before the House which removes the remaining 25c of wine excise. One point which has not been made to any great extent in this debate concerning the wine industry relates to the Australian Wine Board. The wine growers in my area of Rutherglen are not at all happy with the membership of the Board. They had discussions with the previous Minister for Primary Industry to try to have the Board more responsive and the membership of the Board more representative of wine growers than they consider the present Board to be. I hope that the new Minister for Primary Industry (Senator Wriedt) will seriously consider the question of reconstitution of the Wine Board.

The main point I want to raise in this debate is that with the removal of the excise on grape wines there will be no tax on grape wines, and because there is no sales tax or excise on wine made from apples, such as apple cider and apple wine, the remaining fruit wines will be left in the invidious position of being the only products which are subject to a 15 per cent sales tax. This places them at a great disadvantage in competing on the fruit wine market. In particular, perry wine is at a disadvantage. Perry wine is made from pears. It is an old and well known wine in Europe and at the present time the market for perry is growing. Another fruit wine made from pears is baby cham. At a time when the pear industry, which is based in the Goulburn Valley is suffering from the problems of over production and there is a need to diversify product outlets one possible part solution is the production of perry. I know that there is a small amount of perry produced in wineries in South Australia but as yet the amount produced is not very substantial. One of the canneries in the Goulburn Valley recently installed at a cost of about $2m a world standard crushing and juicing plant which will provide a base product of suitable standard to produce a range of pear wines. But to promote or establish a market for what is basically a new type of wine is very difficult. That is hard enough at any time but when it also has to overcome a sales tax of 15 per cent while grape wines and apple wines are not subject to sales tax makes the problem so much more difficult.

Recently I wrote to the Treasurer (Mr Crean), to the Minister for Primary Industry and to the Minister for Immigration (Mr Grassby), because of his interest in the wine industry and in the fruit industry, pointing out this anomaly. I believe it is a genuine anomaly and that no criticism can be levelled either at the present Government or the previous Government. The situation arose because exemption from sales tax of these wines has not been claimed. I received a reply from the Treasurer in today's mail stating that it was one of many requests for exemption from sales tax which the new .Government has received and that in due course its merits will be considered. I ask the Government to consider on its merits the proposal that sales tax on all remaining fruit wines be removed so that all wines will be placed on an equal footing in the struggle to obtain a percentage of the market. I hope that the Government will remove this sales tax because the revenue received from it is minimal - probably less than minimal. Also its removal would help an industry which is experiencing the problem of diversifying its traditional outlets as a result of over production.

Bill agreed to.

Bill reported without amendment, report adopted.







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