By Ian Neubauer
Family First Senator Steve Fielding has backflipped and said he will now support the Federal Government’s bid to formalise the RTD tax hike in the Senate.
In a statement released this week, Fielding said he would support all the Federal Government’s budget bills to ensure Australia’s economy remains secure in the face of global financial uncertainty.
"At this time of economic uncertainty and the massive downturn globally, it is paramount that Australia’s economic security is the focus of any decision-making by the Parliament," he said.
"Family First believes this is a time for shoring up the economy and for the Parliament to work to ensure a strong and stable economy, and therefore I will support the remaining budget bills."
Fielding said the tax is expected to generate $2 billion in revenue over the next four years tand provide a boon for the public pursuer.
But the Distilled Spirits Industry Council of Australia (DSICA) said the tax hike was impacting negatively on liquor sales and would reduce tax revenue by $2.6 billion over the next four years.
“In these challenging times, it is more important than ever that the Federal Parliament makes decisions that protect the Australian economy and do not lead to a shortfall in Government revenues,” DSICA said. “[We] believe that now is not the time to make rash decisions.”
Fielding acknowledged he remained skeptical that the tax hike would address excess consumption of alcohol, but that the downward spiral in the economy made shoring up tax revenue a priority for his constituents.
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