Media Release: QLD Fire Levy
23 July 2019
"Newstead has no issues with paying its share to help fund our firies..."
Newstead Brewing Co. CEO Mark Howes has welcomed moves by State Development Minister Cameron Dick to consult with small brewers following industry outrage over a 900 per cent increase on their emergency management levy.
‘’The Department of State Development have offered to broker a meeting between Independent Brewers Association representatives and the Queensland Fire and Emergency Service in the next week or so,’’ Mr Howes said.
“Newstead has no issues with paying its share to help fund our firies and emergency workers who do a tremendous job keeping Queenslanders safe from fires, accidents, floods and cyclones.
‘’However, we can see no reason why such a levy would be increased overnight from $527.80 to over $5224.20 for small breweries because we are suddenly being classified on the same footprint as major multi-national breweries.
‘’We also question how this increase was determined. As far as we are aware, there was no consultation with the industry and in any case the risk of a fire event in an independent brewery is small compared to the risks associated with other properties in the same fire levy group.
‘’We would welcome authorities to attend our brewpubs at any time to better understand the scale and limited fire risk they pose.’’
Coming on the heels of the Container Deposit Scheme (CDS), which was introduced by the State Government last November and is set for further increases, Mr Howes said the fire levy hike represented a ‘’double whammy’’ to the industry.
‘’Craft beer is the only segment of the Aussie beer market which is in continuous growth,’’ he said. ‘’More than 90 craft brewers have popped up in Queensland in recent years so it is becoming an important local manufacturing industry, underlined by a craft beer strategy launched by the State Government.
‘’Yet the competition is fierce with the large multi-nationals, the margins are slim and many microbreweries will reach a point where they have no option but to pass on these costs to customers or go out of business.’’