May 4, 2018

Transcript of Doorstop Interview – Willie the Boatman, Sydney – Friday, 4 May 2018

FRIDAY, 4 MAY, 2018

Subjects: National Rail Plan, craft beer.

ANTHONY ALBANESE: This morning in Melbourne, Bill Shorten, the Labor Leader, announced our National Rail Plan. This is an important plan to keep jobs here in Australia. What we know is that right around the country we’ve had train sets purchased, for light rail here in Sydney, that don’t match up; for heavy rail here in Sydney where the trains are too long or too wide for the platform and the tunnels. We have had similar occurrences from trains that have been purchased for the rail sector in Queensland. We can do better than that and Labor’s plan for national rail is about keeping manufacturing here. The Government acknowledges that the defence industry is important for maintaining jobs and skills here and a manufacturing base. Rail is exactly the same and the fact that this policy is supported by industry, by unions, by the freight sector and logistics sector – it is something that should be in the Government’s Budget next week.

Something that is in the Government’s Budget next week that we know about is reform when it comes to craft beer and this has been a great victory by the team behind me here and craft breweries right around Australia. There are over 400 craft breweries around Australia. They are small businesses. They employ local people. They bring communities together. They are a focal point for their communities. The people who go into the craft brewing industry are small business owners. They are not people who make a hell of a lot of money. Sometimes they don’t make much at all. What they do though, is bring communities together, employ local people and boost local economies.

It’s not just direct either. Behind us we also have Dave from Dave’s Brewery Tours. You have to wait a few weeks to get on to one of the tours here in the Inner West of Sydney, but they are also expanding out to Newcastle and into other parts of New South Wales and Australia.

This has been a strong campaign. It’s a campaign in which we have had motions in Parliament, petitions collected by brewers right around Australia and it is just about a fair go.

When people understood that your local craft brewery wasn’t able to get the same treatment as big foreign owned brewers, they knew that wasn’t fair and the fact is that the equalisation, making sure that the same tax applies regardless of whether a keg is 50 litres or 30 litres or 40 litres, will mean that those quality products that craft breweries produce will be taxed at the same treatment.

In addition to that, increasing the rebate from $30,000 to $100,000 will make an enormous difference. It will mean that these employers put on more local people right around the country. One of the things about the craft brewing sector is that it isn’t just in areas like the Inner West of Sydney, although I happen to think this is the best place. It is right around the country, right around regional Australia. Every regional town just about now has a craft brewery. They are employing local people. They are bringing people to that local town. They are producing quite distinctive product. And so this is a great day for people power. It is a day on which I have already had a discussion with the Treasurer, Scott Morrison, and said that this is a good thing that will happen in next Tuesday’s Budget and I want to thank all those who campaigned.  We have had probably half a dozen of these press conferences hosted at the local brewers who are here and here we have Willie the Boatman, we’ve got Shark Island, we’ve got Batch, we’ve got Yullies, we’ve got Wayward, we’ve got the people from Sydney Beer Week, Young Henrys, Rocks Brewing, Bucket Boys. We’ve got a great collection here.

But wherever you go, whether it is in the suburbs or the regional towns of Australia, people will be having a quiet one tonight and having it at a cheaper rate once this change comes through. So congratulations to everyone. This is a great industry and this measure will ensure will ensure that it grows, employs more people and helps to build the community. I think a couple of the team wanted to have something today.

PAT McINERNEY, WILLIE THE BOATMAN BREWERY: Thanks Albo. This is a really good day for small business in Australia. The $70,000 that we get from our excise rebate will mean that my business partner and I will be able to invest more in equipment and hire a lot more people and all of our employees come from our local area. So this is a great day. This is something that Anthony has worked closely with us on and really championed it. So cheers to Albo.

DAN HAMPTON, YOUNG HENRYS: We are from young Henry’s. We’ve been around for about six years. We know the challenges and we have been watching people work really hard to have a voice and so I think more than anything this is a good step toward the craft beer scene in Australia having a voice. We hire over 80 people in the local community here and so being able to put back to those staff, being able to put back to the community – we do lots with arts and music – to do all these things is huge. It’s very good news to wake up to.

ALBANESE: I think this is one of the only times or perhaps the only time I am going to get to have a beer at a press conference. It is after 12.  Cheers!


FRIDAY, 4 MAY, 2018