By Andy Young

The ACT Government has reacted to concerns from the territory’s consumers and promised to lessen the proposed enormous tax hikes on ACT drinkers.

The Australian Liquor Stores Association (ALSA) described Labor’s revised proposals as an attempt to strike a compromise between local bottleshops being one of the ACT’s most important small-business employers, having appropriate harm minimisation measures in place and the need to raise further revenue.

ALSA’s CEO, Terry Mott said: “While ACT liquor licensing fees remain the highest of any Australian jurisdiction, the policy position Labor is taking to the election is a compromise for ACT drinkers, as well as for staff and operators of local bottleshops.

“The new schedule of liquor licensing fees for local bottleshops is a much lower increase than the original enormous hikes which were proposed and therefore, the pressure on job losses in our sector and prohibitive price hikes for ACT drinkers will be not be as great.

“Operators of local bottleshops would like to thank the thousands of ACT residents who signed the petition in their local stores opposing the Government’s original ill-informed proposal to hike fees by a flat 25 per cent across the board.”

ALSA and LSA ACT have run a campaign in the territory, which among other things has called on consumers to sign a petition against the massive licence fees increases proposed by the Government.

As well as the overall quantum of licence fees being reduced by 75 per cent, ALSA and LSA ACT have also had success with the Government agreeing to the proposal to put the additional funding collected into a consumer education campaign.

The newly proposed licence fee structure will see no change for stores with gross annual liquor purchases (GLP) below $3m. For stores with GLP of between $3m-$4m, fees will go up by five per cent to $21,381.15; for stores with GLP of between $4m and $5m it is a 10 per increase to $22,399.30; stores with GLP of between $5m and $6m will see a 15 per cent increase to $23,417.45 and stores with GLP of over $6m will see a 20 per cent licence fee increase to $24,435.60.

Canberra’s Liberals have promised no licence fee increases if it wins next month’s election and Mott said ALSA will hold both parties to these pre-election promises.

“The announcements are the policy positions Labor and the Liberals are taking to the election in three weeks’ time and therefore whoever is successful on polling day, their position must apply for the duration of the next term,” Mott said.

“On behalf of local bottleshops – and ACT drinkers – ALSA will steadfastly hold both Labor and the Liberals to account on all components of their respective policies that may impact on our sector for the next four years.

“Our campaign against the original proposals has been highly successful and was strongly supported by local customers.

“Store operators and the 300,000 shoppers who visit bottleshops across the ACT every week do not take kindly to unfair cost imposts which have no impact on lifting the level of responsible consumption of alcohol across Canberra.”

The Shout Team

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

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