The Federal Government announced reforms to the WET rebate in May 2016 that will tighten eligibility for the rebate and reduce the annual rebate cap. Implementation details are to be resolved through further consultation with industry.
In August 2016, Cider Australia released a new Position Statement on WET Reform.
We believe small and medium sized ‘craft’ cider and perry producers whose activities directly support rural and regional communities across Australia should continue to be eligible for the WET rebate. On this basis:
- only cider and perry made from 100% Australian apple and pear juice should be eligible for the WET rebate given its production directly benefits rural and regional Australia, and cider and perry made from imported juice concentrate should not be eligible. Savings from this reform should be allocated to activities that promote cider tourism and exports.
- reforms should be made to the WET rebate scheme to close loopholes in line with its stated policy intent, however, in relation to the definition of a bulk sale ‘bulk’ should be defined as a single container exceeding 51 litres at the time of the dealing. Branded cider is commonly sold in 30L and 50L kegs which is more efficient and sustainable than lower capacity alternatives and should be encouraged.
We do not support a reduction in the $500,000 WET rebate cap due to the potential adverse impacts of this measure on cider market development.
We believe it would be unfair to reduce support for cider producers, either through reducing the WET rebate cap or tightening eligibility, when inadequate and poorly enforced labelling laws prevent those same producers from competing on a level playing field with producers that use substantially imported ingredients.
For the record, we define Australian craft cider as any cider or perry made from 100% Australian fruit.
Reforms to the WET rebate follow a series of Government reviews into taxation arrangements for wine (including cider). Cider Australia’s submission to the Federal Government’s review of the WET rebate scheme can be downloaded here, and our submission to the Federal Government’s White Paper on Tax Reform can be downloaded here.
Food standards code and labelling laws
Country of Origin Labelling
Cider is like wine and is made from fermented juice, in this case the juice of apples and pears. The origin of the juice in cider is an important consideration for many consumers, and Cider Australia believes that labels on cider should identify the country of origin of the juice.
The Federal Government introduced a new Country of Origin Labelling system in 2016. Cider, as an alcoholic beverage, is classed as a non-priority food under the new rules. Non-priority foods must include a country of origin claim on labels. As a ‘substantially transformed’ product, the country of origin statement for cider must relate to where the product was ‘made’ (fermented), rather than where the ingredients were ‘grown’. As a result, cider labels do not need to identify the origin of the juice.
Definition of cider
Did you know there is no minimum juice content in products labelled as cider in Australia? This is is a stark contrast to the situation in other key cider producing countries such as the UK – which has a 35% minimum juice requirement, and the United States – where cider must contain at least 50% juice.
Cider Australia advocates for reform of the Code definition of cider and perry so that what is stated on the label aligns with consumer expectations, and the regulatory frameworks in comparable international markets such as the UK and United States.
Cider Australia believers that a product should not be labelled as cider or perry if it contains:
- less than 35% by weight of apple and/or pear juice
- alcohol specifically to increase ABV (to ensure RTD-style beverages are not called cider)
- fruits other than apple and/or pear, vegetables, sugars, honey and spices (unless clearly indicated on the label in line with Standard 1.2.2 that requires the name of the food to be an accurate description of the food).