The Australian Hotels Association has welcomed media reports that the campaign it launched with Clubs Australia and the Brewers Association calling for a cut on draught beer taxes is gaining support with MPs.

According to several reports the move to reduce the excise on draught beer is gaining traction in Parliament, with AHA CEO Stephen Ferguson welcoming the support.

“We understand the Government is currently considering it and we welcome the support of backbenchers in particular who realise what this means for everyday people struggling with the cost of living,” Ferguson said.

“This is a hidden tax with impacts beer drinkers in the front bar, a tax on socialising. It’s important to remember we are talking on-premise only here – we are not seeking a free for all with cheaper packaged alcohol from supermarkets.”

The campaign calls for a 50 per cent draught beer tax reduction, which the associations say 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.”

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.

Sky News Political Editor Andrew Clennell said the campaign is gaining traction in parliament as MPs get behind it.

“Liberal MP for Bass Bridget Archer has written to Treasurer Josh Frydenberg advocating for it,” he said.

“The Liberal MP for another marginal seat, Braddon, Gavin Pearce, has also posted his support for it on social media.”

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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