The Australian Hotels Association (AHA), Clubs Australia (CA) and the Brewers Association (BA) are calling on the Federal Government to deliver draught beer tax relief.

The associations say a 50 per cent draught beer tax reduction would lower tax bills by $500 for an average pub, and more importantly would be a huge help to venues that have done the right thing by closing their doors when they have been asked to.

“Twice a year for 35 years pubs and drinkers have copped a tax hike on draught beer,” Queensland Hotels Association Chief Executive Bernie Hogan said.

“This year – after our members have done the right thing throughout the pandemic and at a time when jobs and businesses hang in the balance – we ask that pubs and drinkers get a break.

“Every beer poured in a glass through pubs and clubs creates local jobs, brings people together and enlivens communities.

“A tax cut of 50 per cent to the current excise rate would reduce the price of a schooner by about 35 cents turning the tap on some much-needed relief for beer drinkers and pubs.”

Draught beer tax will increase again tomorrow, with Australia already home to the fourth highest beer tax in the world which has gone up twice a year for the past 35 years. Tomorrow’s increase will take the draught beer rate to $36.98 per litre of alcohol – a 2.1 per cent increase for the six-month period.

Brewers Association of Australia, Chief Executive John Preston, said a 50 per cent cut in draught beer would reduce the Federal Government’s revenue from alcohol tax by only $150m a year, or around five per cent of total beer taxes collected.

He said the Federal Government had an opportunity in the upcoming Federal Budget to give pubs and clubs a fighting chance. It will also provide relief for everyday beer drinkers.

“We are very concerned that on February 1, Australian beer drinkers will cop the biggest beer tax increase in more than a decade – it’s not right and it’s not sustainable. Other countries have been reducing their tax on draught beer to give pubs and beer drinkers a break,” Preston said.

He said 11 million Australians visited the local pub or club at least once every three months and the industry employed hundreds of thousands of Australians.

“The industry is telling us they want to help out their patrons as well as employ more as they rebuild,” Preston said.

“But the high level of tax is holding them back.”

Paddo Tavern owner Matt McGuire said that it’s part of our way of life in Australia that when someone is down we help them.

“All of the hospitality industry did their bit in keeping Australians safe by shutting our doors and working to strict protocols,” McGuire said.

“As a result, our businesses paid dearly, and we are still paying.

“We accept it was in the country’s best interests for us to take one for the team during the pandemic, we’re not asking for a handout just a decrease on the tax burden.”

Executive Director of Clubs Australia Josh Landis added: “The past two years have been the most challenging in the history of the club industry and the financial impact has been significant.

“A reduction in the beer excise would help clubs get back on their feet again while allowing them to keep supporting their local sporting teams, charities and other worthy community groups.”

Andy Young

Andy joined Intermedia as Editor of The Shout in 2015, writing news on a daily basis and also writing features for National Liquor News. Now Managing Editor of both The Shout and Bars and Clubs.

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