Cheap beer prices? What cheap beer... where?
4 January 2018
A BID to boost beer prices to bring an end to 'cheap beer' through higher taxes has been dismissed as "misguided, lazy and flawed" by Australia's brewers.
"The reality is beer is not cheap in Australia," Brewers Association of Australia CEO Brett Heffernan explained today.
"Any Aussie venturing overseas who has slaked their thirst with a cleansing ale knows we pay a premium for beer in Australia. Why? Great question.
"Australians pay amongst the highest excise on beer in the world. Then we pay a further 10% in GST on top of that. Last year, taxes on beer drinkers alone netted the Australian Government almost $2.4 billion.
"In fact, research from the University of Adelaide in 2014 shows that, in Australia, beer is taxed at more than twice the OECD average.
"Comparing our $0.58 excise on the $2.00 wholesale pre-tax beer price, Australians pay over seven times more than Argentina, Belgium, Chile and Poland ($0.08); over six times more than Austria, Hungary, the Netherlands and South Africa ($0.09); almost five times more than Italy and Greece ($0.12); double the beer excise paid in the US ($0.29) and almost double that of New Zealand ($0.33)** .
"Of the $47.99 retail price of a typical 24-carton of full-strength beer, $15.08 of that price is tax. It means the single most expensive ingredient in beer is Australian Government tax. Tax accounts for almost one-third (31%) of the total price of a carton of full-strength beer.
"But wait, there's more. The excise on beer in Australia is automatically increased by the Australian Government every six months, so the price of beer is always going up and up and up.
"Calls for higher taxes or minimum floor prices on beer are misguided.
"Firstly, when it comes to cheap alcohol products, beer is not one of them.
"Secondly, price is not a pressure point for those who misuse alcohol. It's lazy and flawed policy... it penalises the vast majority who drink responsibly while doing nothing for those few at risk of harm."
**Source: Excise Taxes on Wines, Beers and Spirits: An Updated International Comparison, Table 4, University of Adelaide, September 2014.
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