Give us a tax break for jobs, growth: breweries
THE opportunity to grow and expand business, create more jobs in our region and introduce new technologies has been crippled by exorbitant government taxes, according to a local craft brewery.
Bargara Brewing Company CEO Jack Milbank has welcomed proposals recently put to the Federal Government by the Independent Brewers Association to introduce an increase to the excise rebate.
Excise is a tax levied on certain goods and commodities produced or sold within a Australia.
An increased excise rebate would mean high taxes won't continue to have such a negative impact on the independent brewing sector.
According to the Independent Brewers Association, the Australian brewing industry is currently one of the highest taxed in the OECD, representing more than a third of the cost of production.
This means the government earns more from beer production than the farmers who grow the barley and hops.
Those facts and more are things Mr Milbank said his business, Bargara Brewing Company, was struggling to come to terms with every day.
"The rate of excise cripples our cash flow and makes it virtually impossible to expand as a family business," he said.
"We invested in a brewhouse and venue with the aim of increasing fermentation capacity as soon as possible, but due to the rate of excise capital for increased production capacity is virtually impossible."
Currently, Mr Milbank said his business was being taxed at a high monthly rate and before his products even hit the shelves.
"Excise on a carton of Thirsty Turtle makes up approximately $13 and excise on Convict IPA is nearly $23," he said.
"We have to buy all ingredients, packaging, electricity and more and as soon as we invoice a customer, excise is required to be calculated and is payable before the invoice for the goods is even paid."
And while independent breweries around Australia, like Bargara Brewing Company, try to keep on top of excise laws, other alcohol industries are being treated much more fairly.
Wine makers can claim up to $500,000 a year in a wine equalisation tax rebate while small, independent brewers can only claim a maximum of $30,000 each year, according to the IBA.
The association says three excise rebate proposals to alleviate pressure from local breweries were put forward to the government.
The report showed an increase in the excise rebate created jobs and encouraged investment.
"We are asking (the Federal Government) to deliver some concrete assistance measures for a small but growing manufacturing industry that is facing a high tax burden and some seriously archaic and out of date regulations that are holding back job creation and investment," IBA chair Ben Kooyman said.
Mr Milbank said a higher rebate would mean great things for not only his business but also for Bundaberg.
"We would be able to invest in increased production capacity, smart technology and innovation to improve efficiencies in our business and grow the local economy through increased exports and product development," he said.
Member Keith Pitt said he had met with Mr Milbank.
"I have spoken with Minister for Revenue and Financial Services Kelly O'Dwyer's office and I am awaiting a response to these concerns," he said.
Mr Milbank said the issue wasn't about placing blame, but instead reaching a conclusion that was right for everybody.
"I do not want to blame anyone, we just want a fair crack on a level playing field," he said.