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18 July, 2020

Beer Tax on the way

The price of beer is scheduled to increase on August 1.

By Phil Brandel

With the price of beer scheduled to increase on August 1 2020, The Brewers Association of Australia said that it will serve as another blow to Australians’ budgets and struggling hospitality venues.

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

“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.”

Beer tax in Australia has increased in line with the consumer price index every six months since August 1983 and now accounts for 42 per cent of a typical stubby or carton of beer.

Australians now pay the fourth-highest beer tax in the world before GST, after Finland, Japan and Norway.

“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.” Mr Heffernan said.

The excise rate for beer increased 1.2 per cent on 3 February, with the Australian government making around $3.6 billion from the tax.

Federal Member for Kennedy Bob Katter said that just as pubs are getting back on their feet they are going to take another hit “The people that got worst hit with Coronavirus restrictions was the hospitality/tourism industry,” he said

“The hoteliers and publicans in our towns copped it and now they are the industry being hit worst again,

“I am just sick and tired of the self-righteous, morally superior, holier-than-now, restrict everything brigade who are pushing this.”

Mr Katter said that pubs and hotels were a place where men could go and de-stress and forget their problems.

“It is no wonder we have the highest suicide rates amongst men in the world and it is only going to get worse.”

“To do this in the middle of COVID is a terrible thing; the hospitality industry is on its knees.

“Despite this, the federal government is going to increase the tax on beer again in August.

“Almost half a million Australian hospitality workers have lost their jobs during the coronavirus pandemic. Pubs are struggling to keep their doors open after the lockdown. They can’t take another hit.” Mr Katter said

Owner of the Barron Valley Hotel Mick Nasser said the increase in beer tax could not come at a worse time for the hospitality industry.

“It’s the worst thing in the world; we are one of the highest-taxed nations for alcohol in the world,” Mr Nasser said

“The government already picks up over 40 per cent in tax on alcohol and they just keep hitting everybody in the back pocket.

“The CPI increase on alcohol should cease, especially with COVID about. We have to put up our prices every 6 months, it’s a nightmare and the government gets it all.”

Mr Nasser said that since stage 3 restrictions were lifted dining has picked up, but due to social distancing not so much in the public bars. “At the end of the day with the risk of fines and restricted numbers, we wonder if it’s even worthwhile opening our bars, maybe we should just keep our restaurants going.”



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