National News

Put a cap on Australia’s beer tax before the August hike

“Now is not the time to be ramping up taxes on consumers,” Brewers Association of Australia CEO Brett Heffernan has declared.

“With more and more Aussies out of work and everyone counting their pennies, jacking up beer tax would be another blow to punters and publicans, alike. August 1 is the deadline for averting the next hip-pocket slug to Australians doing it tough.

“The price of a beer in Australia is already over-the-top. Tax accounts for 42% of the price of a stubby. On a typical $52.00 carton, $22.05 goes to the taxman. When it comes to taxing a drink, Aussies pay the fourth highest beer tax in the industrialised world.

“We’re not asking for a tax cut at this time … just don’t increase the tax. That would spare punters further pain, take pressure off hospitality venues and, because it’s revenue neutral, won’t cost Treasury a cent.

“Putting up the tax in August would be another hit to pubs, clubs and the hundreds of thousands of Australians they need to re-employ once they can re-open in full. Higher taxes will only make that challenge harder when so many are on their knees.

“Pleasingly, freezing excise has the full support of Australia’s peak producer groups (the Brewers Association of Australia, Spirits and Cocktails Australia, and Australian Grape and Wine), though it benefits none of our members.

“Having beer, wine and spirits all on the same page on tax has got to be a first. This is about supporting people having a drink with mates without additional hardship, so they can support their local pubs, clubs and the jobs they provide for a return to normality.

“Australians have endured 71 consecutive beer tax increases since 1983. We don’t need to make it 72.”

Background

  • Beer tax in Australia has automatically increased by CPI every six months since August 1983.
  • Australians pay the fourth highest beer tax in the industrialised world. They then pay another 10% in GST on top of all costs, including the excise.
  • Last year, beer taxes reaped the Australian Government $3.6 billion.
  • A typical carton of beer, at 4.9% alcohol by volume, retails for $52.00. Of that, $22.05 is tax.
  • At 42% of the price of a typical stubby/carton, tax is by far the biggest cost in the price of an Australian-made beer.
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