By Andy Young

Today sees the half-yearly automatic indexation of alcohol excise increase kick in, with cases of ready-to-drink spirits and bottles of spirits seeing the largest rises.

The automatic increases were introduced by the Hawke government in the 1980s and today’s increase adds 29 cents in duty on a slab of RTDs. The duty increase on a 700ml of spirits at 37.5 per cent ABV, will be 17 cents.

Gordon Broderick, the executive director of the Distilled Spirits Industry Council of Australia, told TheShout that the increase highlights the difference between the spirits and wine industries and called on the Government to implement changes recommended in the Henry Review.

He told TheShout: "The six monthly insidious increase on spirits excise kicks in today and spirit drinkers now pay $1.03 per standard drink in excise plus GST compared to six cents per standard drink in cask wine. There are 10 other tax rates in between on the various beverages. 

"For a Government committed to tax reform the alcohol tax regime is ripe for the picking and the blueprint has already been provided in the Henry Review. 

"Spirit Drinkers deserve a fairer go as they already pay the second highest rate in OECD countries. DSICA continues its campaign for greater equity and encourages consumers to join the Fix my Tax campaign."

The duty on an individual 375ml RTD can will increase by one cent, while on a six-pack the duty increase is seven cents.

The increase does also mean that the duty on a 30ml nip of spirits will also rise, by one cent. Brandy is also seeing its duty rise, with a 700ml bottle increasing by 16 cents and a 30ml nip going up by one cent.

The ATO has confirmed with TheShout that there will be no change in the duty on light or full strength beer that is served on-premise, but in the off-premise both beer strengths will see duty increases.

A 375ml six-pack of light strength beer (up to 2.7 per cent) will have a one cent duty increase, while a 24-pack case goes up by five cents. For full strength beer the six-pack increase is three cents and the 24-pack goes up by 13 cents.

Kylie McPherson, corporate relations and legal director with Diageo Australia agreed this was a timely reminder to the government that the alcohol tax system should change.

"It’s disappointing to see spirits slugged yet again with a tax hike on the back of the latest CPI increase," McPherson said.

"While the increase impacts both beer and spirits, the impact is greater on spirits as it’s on top of an already higher excise rate of more than $1 per standard drink (compared to around 43c for full strength beer).

"The high rate of tax is felt particularly by consumers of pre-mix drinks who are paying almost twice the price for a slab of RTDs versus beer because of the higher tax rate. This is despite the fact they both contain similar amounts of alcohol.

"With today’s CPI increase, the tax on a slab of pre-mix is getting close to $40 – that’s the same as a consumer pays for a slab of beer in some retail outlets.

"We urge the Government to prioritise fixing alcohol tax as part of its tax reform process and to stop this unfair and unsustainable form of taxation which has seen the tax on spirits increase by almost 60 per cent in the last 15 years."

The Shout Team

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

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1 Comment

  1. Bought a bottle of my favorite stout this evening and it cost just over $7. I really do like it, but it is only a bottle of beer and $7 is far too much. Unfortunatley for my local ‘bottle-o’, it will be the last purchase.
    I won’t be buying anything cheaper, because it was the one I liked, so now I’ll have to do without.
    I’d like to thank the government for destroying another one of life’s little pleasures. Bastards!!

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