Greater opportunities for the Riverland wine region

According to a report by ABC Rural “South Australia’s Riverland region will benefit from a $40 million investment by one of Australia’s largest wine companies.”

“Accolade Wines will spend between $35 million and $40 million setting up a new glass bottling plant and warehouse facilities at its existing winery in Berri.”

“It is anticipated 40 people will be employed once the plant is operating.”

For more information on this expansion, see ABC Rural


Backpacker Tax Reform passes first hurdle

Following on from the announcement by the Federal Government that it would withdraw its proposed backpacker tax in favour of a tax rate of 19% from the first dollar earned up to $37,000, legislation now has been passed by the House of Representatives to this effect. However, the legislation also would need to pass the Senate.

The legislation also gives effect to other aspects of the Government’s policy announcement, including new registration requirements for employers and changes to the visas rules for working holiday makers.

The legislation now has been referred to a Senate inquiry which will hand down its report by 7 November 2016. SAWIA’s submission to the inquiry supported the lower tax rate of 19% as a workable compromise, but opposed other measures that simply will add red tape and increased compliance costs on wine industry employers.

SAWIA advocacy results in greater access to skilled regional migration

Annually, the South Australian Department of State Development (DSD) undertakes detailed labour force analysis to determine the occupations in which skills shortages could benefit from migration. The advocacy by the South Australian Wine Industry Association (SAWIA) has resulted in that the wine industry can continue to enjoy greater access to skilled regional migration.

In 2015 SAWIA was able to convince DSD to add the viticulturist and winemaker occupations to the list of skilled occupations that can be utilised to apply for the Skilled Regional (Provisional) visa (subclass 489) and the Skilled Nominated visa (subclass 190). This gave wine industry employers greater access to skilled labour through the migration system.

For 2016 our focus was to ensure that the viticulturist and winemaker positions should be retained on the list of skilled occupations. Given that the wine industry is a significant export industry, having employees of a cultural and linguistic background that is relevant to the key export markets may provide a major benefit. For example, they can provide an insight into the culture and values of the export market that will assist the winery with their export efforts. Secondly and equally important, they can describe the winemaking process and sensory aspects to tourist and business visitors. Both of these provide a valuable resource to the South Australian wine industry especially as exports to China increases, supported by the China-Australia Free Trade Agreement, and Chinese visitor numbers increase.

SAWIA is pleased that wine industry employers are able to utilise the regional skilled migration system to fill skills shortages. To access the State-Nominated Skilled Occupation List, visit Immigration SA.

Government proposes new tax arrangements for backpackers

Following widespread stakeholder concern with the Federal Government’s proposal in 2015-16 budget to tax working holiday visa holders at 32.5 per cent from the first dollar earned, known as the “backpacker tax”, the Federal Department of Agriculture has consulted with stakeholders, including the South Australian Wine Industry Association (SAWIA).

During the consultation SAWIA was able to provide practical examples by members of the importance of working holiday visa holders to the wine industry and how the “backpacker tax” would be detrimental to the wine industry. SAWIA argued that the working holiday visa stream has been very successful and that the “backpacker tax” should be withdrawn as it would have a damaging impact on wine industry employers who despite their best efforts cannot fill casual vintage jobs with local applicants.

In response to the review, the Federal Government on 27 September 2016, announced a set of changes to the tax and visa arrangements for working holiday visa holders. The proposal by the Government, includes but is not limited to:

  • withdrawing the original proposal of a 32.5 per cent tax for working holiday visa holders; and
  • introducing a tax rate of 19 per cent from the first dollar earned up to $37,000, with ordinary marginal tax rates applying thereafter.

The proposed changes will require the enactment of laws and regulations. SAWIA will continue to monitor the implementation of the legislation. For more information contact SAWIA on telephone +61 8 8222 9277 or email.

Don’t get stung: Formalise your labour hire and contractor arrangements

Following media allegations earlier in the year of underpayment and mistreatment of labour hire staff in fresh food industries, Federal and State Agencies, including the Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO), Department of Immigration and Border Protection, ReturntoWorkSA and RevenueSA are taking a closer look at host businesses engaging labour hire firms.

Under workplace relations laws, a host business may held liable for underpayments of wages and other breaches by their labour hire firm. A host business also has responsibilities in relation to work health and safety, migration law and discrimination law. Breaches of workplace and employment laws by the labour hire/contractor not only expose a wine industry employer to potential penalties but could also cause long term reputational damage.

If you have not formalised your labour hire/contractor arrangements, now is the time!

SAWIA can assist wine industry employers with specific advice and assistance regarding labour hire and contracting arrangements to manage the risk.

To assess your current risk profile, print out and complete the attached checklist.

For more information and assistance contact the Business Services Team (Sarah, Egon and Henrik) via email or phone 08 8222 9277

Host Business Checklist December 2015

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Welcome to Careers in Wine

buildingSAWIA is pleased to introduce our new Careers in Wine website , the outcome of the South Australian Wine Industry Employment Project.

This website is designed to promote careers in the industry and provide assistance to wine industry employers with various tools and materials relevant to improving their workplace training and knowledge.

This is a unique resource for the Australian wine industry. Its aim is to provide better  information about the numerous career pathways and opportunities the industry has to offer beyond being a winemaker or viticulturalist.

The website hosts three short videos introducing people who have used  diverse ranges of skills and qualifications and applied them to careers in the wine industry.  The videos  promote working in regional South Australia with real stories from people who have been given opportunities, experienced innovation and developed passion for  the wine industry.

While the website will be promoted to students currently choosing career paths, it is also a valuable on-line tool for wine industry employers to better understand the value and need to formalise “on the job” training of employees.

SAWIA would like to take this opportunity to thank the assistance of the SA Government, whose Skills for All initiative has gone a considerable way to making this Project a reality.