The Brewers Association is calling for a cut in the tax rate applied to beer served in pubs and clubs across Australia and an end to the twice-yearly increases in tax on bottled beer.
Recent record beer tax increases on 1 August 2022 and 1 February 2023 are damaging Australia’s pubs and clubs and unfairly punishing responsible Australian beer drinkers. Beer is the anchor product for pubs and clubs across Australia with beer sales consistently averaging around 70% of alcohol sales by volume in venues.
The increase in beer tax on 1 February 2023 meant that the beer tax has gone up by around 8 per cent in the previous six months. Australians are now paying almost $20 in tax for every slab of beer they buy at the bottle shop and pub and club owners are having to pass on almost 90 cents of tax on every pint of beer they pour. Taken together the Australian Hotels Association estimate that these increases will cost a small pub around $5,400 a year and come after several years of difficult trading conditions associated with COVID-19 restrictions.
These new record increases, the largest in over 30 years, follow almost 20 increases under the previous Federal Government. With tax increases and other cost pressures pub goers will soon be faced with the prospect of regularly paying almost $15 for a pint in their local. It is increasingly unaffordable for many people to visit their local to catch up with friends or have dinner with their family.
Australia’s beer tax rates are out of step with other major beer producing nations and there is an urgent need to take action to make the tax fairer for Australia’s world-class hospitality and brewing sectors and Australia’s 11 million beer drinkers.
Other countries such as the UK have reduced their beer tax to protect their brewing industry, grow hospitality jobs and assist businesses to recover from COVID-19. As other countries like the UK cut their beer tax to help the hospitality industry or ease pressure on consumers, our beer tax rate is increasingly out of step with comparable countries like the UK and vastly higher than other major beer producing nations such as Germany, the US and Belgium where the rate is less than a quarter of what we pay here.