FREEZE THE TAX: Granite Belt Brewery's Geoff Davenport supports a lobby to stop an increase in beer’s excise tax.
FREEZE THE TAX: Granite Belt Brewery's Geoff Davenport supports a lobby to stop an increase in beer’s excise tax.

Brewers crack a cold one, call for freeze on beer tax

SOUTHERN Downs brewers are among those calling for the federal government to freeze the tax on alcohol.

With an upcoming review on August 1, brewers, winemakers, spirit makers and pubs have all said the industry isn’t ready to cope with another financial blow.

At Granite Belt Brewery, member of the independent Brewers Association Geoff Davenport said a tax freeze or decrease was practically unheard of in the industry.

“Not a lot of people realise this but beer, wines and spirits are reviewed every six months, and in my experience, they always go up,” he said.

“Because we don’t put our prices up, that’s a considerable amount that affecting our margins every six months.”

According to Brewers Association of Australia CEO Brett Heffernan, tax accounts for 42 per cent of the price of a stubby, and on a typical $52.00 carton, $22.05 goes towards tax.

When it comes to taxing a drink, Australians also pay the fourth highest beer tax in the industrialised world, with a further 10 per cent GST on top.

If successful, it would be the first time in 37 years Australians have been spared the excise increases.

Reopening up on Friday, on the back of bushfire, drought and coronavirus, Mr Davenport said now was the time for the government consider further relief.

“With coronavirus, we were shut for three months, and it happened basically overnight,” he said

“We’ve been able to keep staff on with JobKeeper, but the casuals who need it the most went onto Jobseeker.

“I think every industry would appreciate any break the ATO can give. We will be in recovery mode for quite a while.

Mr Heffernan said it wasn’t necessarily about giving the industry a tax break but a pause.

“We’re not asking for a tax cut at this time … just don’t increase the tax. That would spare punters further pain, take pressure off hospitality venues and, because it’s revenue neutral, won’t cost Treasury a cent,” he said.

“Putting up the tax in August would be another hit to pubs, clubs and the hundreds of thousands of Australians they need to re-employ once they can re-open in full.”

Since 1983, the excise tax on alcohol has risen 71 times.



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