Spirits industry responds to Albanese’s Future Made in Australia Act 

April 12, 2024
By Cody Profaca

Australian Federal Government has provided details of a new incentive scheme for advanced manufacturing and clean energy projects. The Future Made in Australia Act, announced yesterday, will draw its funds from taxpayer money and has been modeled to compete with the US Inflation Reduction Act.

“Obviously, Australia cannot go dollar for dollar with the United States’ Inflation Reduction Act,” said Albanese’s speech notes provided to media.

“But this is not an auction – it’s a competition…and Australian can absolutely compete for international investment when it comes to our capacity to produce outcomes, the quality of our policies and the power of our incentives.”

The Future Made in Australia Act seeks to consolidate existing government initiatives, including the $15 billion National Reconstruction Fund, under the one banner. The announcement also trails shortly behind the recent Inquiry into Food and Beverage Manufacturing in Australia, which was the first Federal Government inquiry open to Australia’s spirits sector. 

The Australian Distillers Association has welcomed the new scheme.

“We wholeheartedly agree with the Prime Minister’s statement that Australia, ‘must be more assertive in capitalising on its comparative advantages,’” said chief executive Paul McLeay.

While the Future Made in Australia Act presents notable opportunity for Australia’s spirits industry, the extent to which the policy specifications will accommodate Australia’s spirits producers remains unclear. The Australian Distillers Association has called on the Federal Government to further consider the spirits sector.

“Australia has an abundance of riches when it comes to spirits manufacturing, in terms of ingredients, infrastructure and technical prowess: we just need to get the policy settings right to fulfil our potential, starting with urgent reform of Australia’s spirits tax, which is clearly at odds with the Government’s economic objectives for the manufacturing sector,” said McLeay.

Albanese’s presentation referenced efforts by the US, the European Union, Japan, South Korea and Canada to strengthen their critical industries. 

“All these countries are investing in their industrial base, their manufacturing capability and their economic sovereignty,” said Albanese’s speech notes.

“These nations are not withdrawing from global trade or walking away from world markets or the rules-based order, and let me be clear, nor should Australia.”

Spirits & Cocktails Australia, another peak body representing Australian distillers, also responded to yesterday’s announcement.

“The Prime Minister spoke today of the need to aim high to realise the opportunities ahead, noting that while there was unlimited potential, there is limited time to be truly competitive with the progress already made in countries like Japan, Canada and the United Kingdom,” said Greg Holland, chief executive.

“These countries have already taken bold steps to enhance their spirits manufacturing capabilities, by freezing excise duties and investing in developing their spirits manufacturing industries.

Holland also believes that Australia is well placed to receive the foreign investment that the Federal Government is wishing to attract. 

“Foreign direct investment is the key to unlocking industry growth,” he said. 

“To date however, only three per cent of businesses have been able to access this vital funding. Given the right policy settings, our international members are eager to step up their investments in Australia to enhance the industry’s capacity to grow exports and create jobs at our distilleries, half of which are located in regional areas.

“We congratulate the Prime Minister on another important initiative for the Australian manufacturing sector and look forward to working with his government to realise the potential of the Australian spirits industry.”

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