By Ian Neubauer

The staff at Independent Distillers’ Laverton plant have appealed to Deputy Prime Minister Julia Gillard – their local member of Parliament – to visit the plant and see the damage caused to their livelihoods by the RTD tax hike bill.

In an open letter addressed to Gillard, the staff claim that should the RTD tax hike bill be passed into law, Independent Distillers will likely be forced to cut more jobs on top of the 23 workers it let go last year after the tax hike came into effect.

“Legislating to make this new tax permanent could force our employer to retrench 135 people at [our factory in] Laverton and could lead to the loss of a further 150 ancillary jobs,” the letter reads.

“It will also mean that the $41 million of economic activity Independent Distillers creates in areas such as packaging, raw materials and transport logistics across Victoria will disappear.”

Independent Distillers has also launched a Facebook page and microsite to show the disparities in the prices different categories of alcohol and how the RTD tax hike is inadvertedly promoting binge drinking among young Australians.

It does so by means of a graph that shows the number of standard drinks consumers can purchase for $30 across different categories of alcohol: 90 standard drinks for drinkers of cask wine, 83 for sherry drinkers, 32 for beer drinkers, or 10 standard drinks for drinkers of white spirit-based RTDs.

“We agree that more has to be done to halt binge drinking, but this new tax is not the answer. The Government’s own figures show an increase in consumption of beer, wine and spirits,” information posted on the homepage states.

The Shout Team

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

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