Liquor lobby calls for tax breaks as ATO booze rate rises

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A rise in alcohol taxes has led a lobby group to warn that a 24-pack of Bundaberg rum and cola could jump $20 over the next few years.

A case of Bundaberg rum and cola could rise by more than $20 over the next decade due to higher liquor taxes, according to a liquor industry lobby group.

Spirits and Cocktails Australia has called for tax increases to be halted for three years to help producers.

But a leading nonprofit working to minimize alcohol-related harm said the request was a “slap in the face” for taxpayers.

The Australian Taxation Office announced this week that the rate on spirits would drop from $88.91 per liter of pure alcohol to $90.78 from next month.

The ATO increases alcohol excise duty rates twice a year, based on inflation, and the most recent change is an increase of approximately 2.1%.

Lobby group Spirits and Cocktails Australia said the half-year increases could be passed on to consumers.

This would mean the price of a 24-can case of Bundaberg rum and coke – which are taxed at the same rate as hard liquor – would rise to more than $100 within a decade, according to the industry body. .

Major retailers currently charge between $74 and $77 for a case.

Spirits and Cocktails Australia said the hikes would make it harder for the industry to stay profitable and urged the ATO to change the way it taxes spirits.

‘The Australian way is to lend a helping hand in times of crisis, but instead this government has given us a hike – the fourth savage tax hike since Covid arrived on our shores,’ said the general manager Greg Holland.

But retail figures show alcohol producers had no problem making money during the first year of the coronavirus pandemic.

Companies made $15.6 billion in retail sales in 2020, a 26.7% increase from 2019, according to analysis by Roy Morgan from last year.

Research from the World Health Organization has shown that increasing the cost of alcohol tends to reduce demand and levels of alcohol-related problems in society.

Caterina Giorgi, chief executive of the Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education, said alcohol companies have profited from the pandemic while alcohol-related ambulance calls have increased.

“At a time when our healthcare system and our hospitals are overwhelmed and people are doing things very hard, it’s a slap in the face for all of us to see alcohol companies, which are making super profits, asking for more taxpayers’ money,” Ms Giorgi said.

“At this time, our focus should be on ensuring that resources are directed towards people’s health and well-being, not the deep pockets of alcohol companies.”

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