By Amelia Ball
The weekend’s shock tax hike on Ready to Drink (RTD) products has been called a “tax grab masquerading as a social reform” by Gordon Broderick of the Distilled Spirits Industry Council of Australia (DSICA).
The DSICA executive director said while they knew the Federal Government was considering the tax increase, its timing was still a surprise.
The development, which was announced on Saturday night, has raised the excise on RTDs from 39.36c a litre to 66.67c, effective from yesterday, Sunday, April 27.
It has lifted the cost of RTD products in a bid to deter younger drinkers, with the Government committing an estimated $2 billion in subsequent new revenue to a National Preventative Health Program.
It aims to cover a number of health and lifestyle areas, including diet, exercise and smoking.
But Broderick said the data used by the Government to reach its decision, from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, actually shows a decrease in risk drinking across the board.
“Why should the RTD drinker be paying for alcohol abuse in general and cigarette smoking and obesity? It defies rationale. They’re the ones who are being slapped in the face,” Broderick said.
“I think the other thing is that it won’t address problem drinking. People will just adjust their drinking to lower taxed beverages.”
DSICA worked closely with the Howard Government for nine years to bring RTDs under the same tax structure as other alcoholic products.
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