By Amelia Ball

Speculation is mounting the RTD tax could again rear its head when the budget is announced next month – but this time with a raft of new taxes that would impact on other alcoholic categories.

While the controversial RTD tax bill was officially defeated in the Senate last month, reports are circulating that a wider alcohol tax reform package could be bundled up within the looming budget.

A spokesperson for the Minister for Health and Ageing, Nicola Roxon, confirmed they are ‘examining their legislative options’ in regards to the RTD tax, but did not elaborate further.

Despite the lack of communication between Government and industry on the issue – with Minister Roxon still yet to engage with any members of the liquor business – rumours are circulating about what the budget might bring.

These reportedly include the potential abolishment of the Wine Equalisation Tax, a tax on cask wine, the removal of a concessional excise on draught beer and the 70 per cent tax hike for RTDs.

Australian Liquor Stores Association (ALSA) CEO Terry Mott said they were very concerned about any increases in alcohol taxation.

“Our clear view is that we don’t believe alcohol tax effectively deals with any perceived health issues,” Mott said.
“We’ve always expressed to Government our commitment to work with them but that has been very difficult with the current Government because the Health Minister has not agreed to meet with us.”

Mott stressed the need for the industry to be resolute in its cooperative approach in working together with Government on resolving alcohol and health-related issues, while remaining united in its approach.

DSICA is waiting for the results of the budget on May 13 and retains its stance.

“To leave the RTD tax at its high rate is an unjustified revenue grab,” DSICA’s Stephen Riden said.

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The Shout Team

The leading online news service for Australia's beer, wine, spirits and hospitality industries.

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