In today’s instalment of citizen journalism, Bright Foodworks proprietor, Jason Sharp, pulls apart theories and arguments surrounding the RTD tax hike to expose the political machinations from where it spawned.    

“Everyone loves a good conspiracy theory and although the chains are possibly in constant consultation with the government, I don’t believe they are responsible for the RTD tax hike.

Yes it’s true that the independents have dominated the RTD market through range, flexibility and value added promotions — all things that the chains due to their corporate structure can’t offer the market. However, to draw a bow to suggest the chains have in some way had an impact in the introduction of the RTD tax is a stretch.

To fully understand the tax hike I believe we need to go back to last year’s election. The Opposition at the time made several excessive election promises that, as I recall, Howard and Costello on several occasions asked them how they would fund such promises. But with no accountability forced upon them from the voting public, it became an easy way to generate millions of dollars in revenue in the name of social justice while not completely crippling an industry that already provides it with a substantial proportion of its revenue. I would love to have seen the Opposition announce a potential increase in taxes on RTDs and still have been voted into office! Why RTDs and not spirits?

Two reasons. First, the size of the RTD market would generate more income than the spirit market and second, to the mantra of social justice, they are more popular with the younger drinkers and therefore it could be justified in the name of social consciousness. The beer market would have generated even greater revenue than the RTD market but this has not been introduced yet so as to not ostracise core Labor voters. So unfortunately the RTD market copped it in the neck and subsequently so too has the independent trade.

It has affected my figures only by reducing the volume I’m selling because the higher retail value I’m taking is growing on last year’s numbers, with a small hit in profit.

Yes there has been a significant swing toward bottled spirits, but this is not something I think the liquor industry or people in it should be bragging about or publicly highlighting. It is not a valid argument for the abolition of the RTD taxes. In fact, the only outcome I foresee is forcing the Government’s hand to introducing a spirits tax hike to fulfill its social responsibility to reduce binge drinking!

So, what is the answer to removing the RTD tax?

I’m not sure because, as I mentioned, my conspiracy theory is that it has little to do with binge drinking and more to do with revenue raising. We need to somehow teach Labor to manage the economy through capitalist policy making and reducing the reliance on taxation to be in with a chance.”
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The Shout Team

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

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