ORANGE’S vineyard cellar doors will be hit with a new tax in the 2014-2015 financial year, which came out of the blue and without consultation, according to one Orange vigneron.
Family-run Dindima Wines owner and manager David Bell is angry the Office of Liquor, Gaming and Racing (OLGR) is imposing a new risk-based licence fee scheme on all licensed premises, which will see alcohol producers and wholesalers pay an annual $500 base fee, on par with clubs, fully-licensed hotels and bottle shops with less than four outlets.
The scheme is designed to make venues safer and curb alcohol-fuelled violence by targeting risky premises with extra fees on top of the base impost, but Mr Bell said cellar doors did not contribute to antisocial behaviour.
“We’re not a risk to the community, we’re all licensed, we’re all pretty careful, we obey the law and we don’t contribute to alcohol-fuelled violence,”he said.
“There doesn’t seem to be much in relation to pragmatic action with this fee.”
On top of the base fee, venues that trade between midnight and 1.30am must pay an extra $2500, while those who have a poor compliance history with liquor laws could pay up to $9000, which are in place to reflect the level of risk posed by a venue and its operation.
The fee scheme, announced in April, brings NSW in line with the ACT, Victoria and Queensland which have similar systems, but Mr Bell said there had been no consultation between government and wine industry.
“They’re just not doing what they’re supposed to be doing, which is inviting everybody to the tent to have a discussion,” he said.
“Just because the ACT and Victoria were dumb enough to accept it, doesn’t mean you have to follow someone else off a cliff. We’re not Lemmings.”
OLGR was approached for comment but did not respond by the time of publication.