Oct 24, 2017

Constituency Statements – OktoberWest

Mr ALBANESE (Grayndler) (16:06): I rise to speak about the positive impacts that the craft brewing sector is having on my electorate and on jobs and tourism. Last Sunday, the recently formed Inner West Brewery Association hosted the first ever Oktoberwest beer festival, and it was a great success. It’s part of the Sydney beer festival, of which I’m proud to be the patron. The festival marked the official launch of the association, celebrating the rich culture of Australia’s craft beer capital with a line-up of local breweries including Young Henry’s, Willie the Boatman, Wayward, The Grifter, Batch, Sauce, and Akasha, to name just a few. The festival, held at different locations across the electorate, included a celebration of women in craft brewing and small business, FemmeApocalypse, at the Wayward headquarters in Camperdown. Here I met Sophie Gamble, Wayward’s head female brewer, who gave me a tour of the facility. It was a great day. They had female small business, from barbecuing to artists to performers, all at Wayward, being celebrated by the local community.

Oktoberwest also aimed to raise further awareness about the unfair rate of federal excise that is disadvantaging our craft brewers. Today the rate of federal excise charged for a keg containing 50 litres of beer is less than the rate charged for a keg containing 30 litres. That disadvantages the small businesses that want to get their product into local pubs and want to support local jobs. This excise makes up approximately 40 per cent of their operating costs. The day was a triumph of live music, arts, entertainment and great food. Indeed, I want to particularly thank The Morrisons, who got me on stage at the Factory Theatre to present the argument for voting yes for marriage equality in the current voluntary postal survey. It was also a celebration about the creativity and sustainability of local businesses that create jobs. I will continue to argue the case that craft brewers deserve fair treatment—they deserve fair treatment because they have grown exponentially in recent years. There are now over 420 craft breweries right around Australia, not just in our cities but in our regional centres as well. They’re good for local small business; they’re also good as tourist attractions in their own right. That is why the government needs to respond to the current inequity which exists, to support jobs and to support local small business.