By Ian Neubauer

RTD manufacturer Independent Distillers (ID) has produced and broadcast a television advertisement featuring a tradesman criticising the RTD tax hike in the lead up to the Gippsland by-election. Gisspland is an electorate of southeast Victoria.

“To add to the discussion and debate on this issue, we have produced an ad featuring a Gippsland local to illustrate the anger felt by many RTD drinkers in response to the Rudd Government’s untargeted and unfair tax hike,” said ID executive chairman, Doug Mckay. “We want to encourage RTD drinkers to have their say and this by-election is an opportunity for them to let the candidates know how they feel.”

The Gippsland electorate was targeted by the RTD maker because of the high concentration of tradespeople living there to generate a protest vote. The company believes the tax hike is an unabashed tax grab that unfairly tolls men aged 24 years and over, who consume 75 per cent of dark spirit-based RTDs.   

“There is little argument that binge drinking continues to be a serious behavioral problem in our community.  However, the Government’s tax hike on RTDs is more about revenue raising than good health policy,” Mckay said.

ID has signalled it will continue to engage in the debate in order to have the tax hike reversed. It has also called for volumetric alcohol taxation to apply across all categories of alcohol products and the development of evidence-based research to address harmful drinking behaviour.

Federal health Minister Nicola Roxon blasted the advertisement, saying she is determined to tackle alcohol abuse by any means necessary. She said the liquor industry and Opposition are the only groups in the country who do think Australia has a serious drinking problem.  

Distilled Council Spirits of Australia spokesperson, Stephen Riden, said the council was not associated with the advertisement and had no forewarning of its production until it was first broadcast yesterday.

To see the advertisement, click here.

To see ID’s submission to the Senate Community Affairs Committee Inquiry into RTDs, click here.


The Shout Team

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

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