Emergency Management Levy change delivers for craft brewers

The Queensland Government has introduced new classifications to the Queensland Emergency Management Levy, ensuring craft brewers and distillers pay a lower rate than their larger counterparts.

Minister for Manufacturing Cameron Dick said the changes meant the levy would be assessed on the floor size of breweries and distilleries rather than at a flat rate.

“The Queensland Emergency Management Levy is payable by all property owners in Queensland to help fund the essential work of our fire and emergency services,” Mr Dick said.

“When the Emergency Management Levy was first introduced in 1984, there were only four large commercial breweries and distilleries and Queensland’s craft brewers and distillers had not yet achieved their current levels of popularity and success.

“The Queensland Government has now introduced amendments to the levy classification system to recognise the differences within the craft brewing and distilling industry.

“A new commercial premises category has been created for craft brewing and distilling operations with a gross floor size of up to 15,000 square metres.

“The changes formally recognise that smaller, niche beer, cider and spirit makers shouldn’t be charged the same rate as much larger operators and will ensure brewers and distiller will pay a levy based on the size of their building, rather than a flat fee.

“The change will take place in two steps. Step one will see a repeal of the section of the levy that was introduced in July 2019.

“Step two will come into effect on 1 July 2020 and will see the levy applied based on the size of the brewers’ premises.

In the interim, between now and 1 July 2020, we will with work with local authorities to adjust rates notices so that brewers and distillers are not disadvantaged.

Emergency Services Minister Craig Crawford said the emergency management levy was administered by local councils and the changes to the levy classifications had been discussed with the Local Government Association of Queensland (LGAQ).

“We will be working with the LGAQ to communicate the levy changes to councils and ensure all necessary adjustments to rate notices are made recognising the new building size classifications for brewers and distillers,” Mr Crawford said.

“The amendment will support the ongoing growth of Queensland’s craft brewing and distilling operations across the state.

Both Ministers thanked the Independent Brewing Association and the LGAQ for their assistance with the levy changes.

Queensland craft brewer Jack Milbank, Founder and CEO of Bundaberg’s Bargara Brewing Company said the new classifications would assist the industry.

“I’m grateful for the time, effort and energy put into consulting with us once our concerns were brought to the Government’s attention and for finding a more equitable solution relevant to the scale of individual brewers’ operations,” Mr Milbank said.

“Ours is an emerging industry with many small brewers, and the revision to the levy will enable the industry to continue to grow and, with continued support, become an even more significant contributor to the economy.”

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