Could alcohol be taxed again?

A radical plan to increase taxation on alcohol would see prices rise by 10 per cent.

Could alcohol be taxed again?

A radical plan to increase taxes on alcohol that was proposed to the Turnbull Government this week would see prices rise by 10 per cent and include previously exempt draught beer.

The proposal from the Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education (FARE) – an organisation that routinely calls for increases in alcohol tax – this year focused largely on the tap beers it believes are under-taxed.

“Beer is beer is beer, and the tax should apply equally to all products irrespective of what form it comes in,” said FARE Chief Executive Michael Thorn.

The proposed $2.9 billion tax hike would be a huge saving measure for the Turnbull Government if considered, with FARE calling for just $27.5 million of the additional revenue to be put back into preventative health care.

Recent research by Deutsche Bank showed Melbourne as the equal eighth most expensive city in the world for a pint of beer, while Sydney came in at 20th.

The Australian Hotels Association warned that any increase in excise would "act as a virtual payroll tax for the Federal Government and would inevitably lead to a drop-in employment and other economic activity"

What do you think? Is alcohol already over-taxed or can you see the economic and health benefits of an increase in the price of alcohol?

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    COMMENTS

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    SuziJ
    9th Jan 2018
    10:15am
    Lat them do it! I don't drink alcohol, anyway. So I won't be adding to the Govt's coffers.
    Triss
    9th Jan 2018
    1:04pm
    Me neither.
    Doc
    9th Jan 2018
    10:43am
    I bet the price of drinks at the parliament bar don't go up. This will be the death nell for small clubs and pubs a lot of people in country towns going to be unemployed.

    9th Jan 2018
    11:08am
    It's a well-established fact that taking alcohol away from the worker kills productivity. Many people need their indulgences to make their working life tolerable.

    Personally, I don't like alcohol and I'd like to see consumption reduced, but we all know what Prohibition did. And taxing excessively will have the same undesirable consequences.

    Also, the proposal - like most that the LNP entertain - will hurt the less affluent battlers most. And they are the people who most need solid incentives to be less reliant on welfare. Of course idiot do-gooders will claim higher prices will reduce consumption by the lower classes, but it will drive more home-brews (consequently more poisoning), and more family deprivation and abuse and family breakups, among other undesirable consequences.

    Tax the wealthy properly would be a far better approach to economic management, but that will never happen.
    Jim
    9th Jan 2018
    11:44am
    Reduce the alcohol content of beer and spirits, then reduce the tax on the drink, health problem solved, if people still want the full strength stuff then charge the same tax as now, after all the excercise is to improve health not to raise extra revenue right. How easy was that?

    9th Jan 2018
    11:49am
    Who are these people who are recommending that the government increase excise/taxes on alcohol and what is their motivation? Reading their website suggests that they are all a bunch of wowsers, hell-bent on stopping the average person enjoying an occasional drink. Their articles zero in on the worst of what alcohol can do but choose not to add a percentage of people involved in those excesses. They want alcohol advertising to be stopped, just the same as tobacco advertising has been stopped and good luck with that.

    A previous government raised the excise on RTD's with the excuse that it was to stop young people binge drinking and, again, no figures were given. It transpired that binge drinking amongst teens represented less than 9% of teenagers yet all of the population had to cop the price rise. All that happened with the teens was that they found another, cheaper way to drink alcohol.

    I fear for Australia in the future as we appear to be ruled by a vocal minority with the vast majority being ignored. Australia is a democracy which, by definition, is the rule of the majority over the minority. Loud splinter groups attract the ear of politicians who seem to go along with crackpot ideas. Schools are teaching fluidity of gender because a few do-gooders think it's a good idea when the majority want it removed. PC is taking over to the point of stupidity with a university in Melbourne wanting to remove all words which identify gender from the vocabulary.

    Back some years ago, political parties were easily identifiable by the colours they chose when campaigning. You knew red meant one thing and blue the other but nowadays they should all campaign under the colour beige. Both major parties have morphed into each other with similar policies which leaves a lot of voters confused. Could this be the reason that the Senate has so many cross-benchers?
    arbee
    9th Jan 2018
    6:02pm
    No point in me posting now as you have just about covered everything I would have put on here. have my 93 year old mum in a retirement home where one of the few things she can still enjoy is 1 or 2 glasses (small) a night of white wine with her dinner. As her funds are limited she has a cask in her fridge which generally costs $10.00 to $15.00 depending if it is on a special. If these idiots have their way, this would increase to about $45.00 per cask putting it out of her and many others reach. I am so sick and tired of these PC people trying to change everything to suit their agendas. If they don't like what we have in this country, well then, leave, we don't want you.
    Not a Bludger
    9th Jan 2018
    12:17pm
    Appalling proposal.

    If our taxes were lower, these social engineering outfits would not have the funds to prepare and make such outrageous suggestions.

    As to trying to reduce alcohol and/or sugar consumption by increasing taxes - Nick off, I say - I shall make my own consumption decisions and I do not need some misguided do-gooder outfit to instruct me.
    Triss
    9th Jan 2018
    1:20pm
    I wonder how many millions of taxpayer dollars have been syphoned into that useless suggestion.
    tropic
    9th Jan 2018
    12:44pm
    It will onlu make those with no drinking problem drink less. It will make some tourists stay away in favour of cheaper places. Restaurants and pubs will suffer. Why not reduce the tax on the other items to bring it in line. Europe has less restrictive laws, cheaper alcohol and fewer problems.

    9th Jan 2018
    12:47pm
    Alcohol is a mind altering recreational drug. People who sell alcohol are drug pushers. People who drink alcohol are druggies. LSD, tobacco, speed, Ice, weed etc are also recreational drugs.

    Some people manage their drug taking well, use only small amounts, and are not adversely affected by their drug habit.... for example the occasional user of Ice or drinker of alcohol.

    The best way to reduce drug taking is to socially demonise drug taking. That technique worked very well with the killer drug tobacco. Of course this technique won't work with rabid druggies (who will always take their Ice/alcohol etc no matter what) ..... but it "will" greatly reduce overall usage throughout the population.

    Remember when it used to be "cool" to smoke tobacco drug back in the 50s and 60s? The thousands of tobacco TV adds showed young, good looking guys and gals (with cigarettes in their mouths) who were presented as heroes and incredibly sexy and wonderfully admired. The population looked at these adds, went out and bought billions of cigarettes, then later on died in droves because of their smoking. Then smoking was socially demonised, prices were increased ..... then most smokers stopped smoking and stopped dying from smoking's medical complications.

    Banning recreational drugs like alcohol, Ice, weed, tobacco etc etc etc is useless. What works is socially demonising the product. Doing that will save 80% or so of users. Nothing whatsoever will save the remaining 20% of hard core users.
    Triss
    9th Jan 2018
    1:29pm
    A good start as well would be to stop elevating drug pushers to the aristocracy by calling them drug barons, drug lords, etc. Call them what they are, cess pits and sewer rats.
    Anonymous
    9th Jan 2018
    1:49pm
    I agree Triss. A lot of high end hoteliers think of themselves as barons and lords.
    Jim
    9th Jan 2018
    1:52pm
    Completely disagree, your analogies are not represented by any studies in fact quite the opposite, tobacco does kill and the restrictions on smokers has removed the dangers from others so the people it affects are the smokers themselves, the effects of alcohol are well known and yes irresponsible drinkers cause problems for others, but it's probably too late to ban alcohol and why should we ban it any way, maybe look at the problem drinkers and get them treated as we do with other addicts, bug to put these other insidious drugs in the same category as smoking and alcohol is ridiculous, ice is immediately addictive the reason people use drugs is to get them out of reality and into some other state quickly, most medical experts will tell you that addiction can occur with any drug, I have seen the results of addiction, the majority of cases are not as a result of alcohol or tobacco they are as the result of illicit and precscription drugs, there are many who use alcohol as the excuse for using illicit drugs stating that it's just as bad, that may be the case in some instances, but do we need more drugs to choose from
    Anonymous
    9th Jan 2018
    3:12pm
    Currently, more deaths, injuries, assaults, car accidents, rapes, domestic violence, social disturbance are influenced by alcohol than any other drug (including Ice).

    As I previously said, banning recreational drugs is "not" a solution.

    All recreational drugs are a scourge on decent society, but Homo Sapiens is a very primitive species indeed and it's impossible to 100% eradicate recreational drug use. "If" our species progresses beyond our current primitive intellectual state then there "may" be some future hope ..... but I suspect we're talking many thousands of years into the future regarding this.
    arbee
    9th Jan 2018
    6:05pm
    Jim D, go find yourself a deserted island to live on where you might find the utopia you are looking for. That way you don't have to try and change everyone else to your way of thinking.
    Anonymous
    9th Jan 2018
    6:23pm
    Arbee ... I don't seek utopia. In my post I said it's impossible to stop recreational drug use. Earlier on I said banning recreational drugs is useless. We have to live with recreational drug use within society, there is no other choice.
    Watto
    9th Jan 2018
    1:47pm
    Well said Old Man

    Jim D Your nuts You need to take half a dozen Panadol and have a good rest.
    Anonymous
    9th Jan 2018
    3:22pm
    I love you too my dear Watto. Love and kisses from me oxoxoxoxox.
    The pom
    9th Jan 2018
    3:23pm
    My wife and myself don't drink alcohol, don't gamble and don't smoke or take non prescription drugs. This is from personal choice, not because some weird religion tells us not to. As we are both well on the way to 90 yo we find life very easy on our small investments and pension, even able to buy more shares from time to time.
    Not a Bludger
    9th Jan 2018
    3:44pm
    Good on you, Pom - control your own life and tell the social engineering crowd to Sod Off.
    Eddy
    9th Jan 2018
    4:33pm
    I have no issue with increasing tax on alcoholic or tobacco products, however I would suggest a lot more than 10%. It is only fair that those who jeopardise their health by consumption of products which are known to be harmful should at least contribute extra for the health costs of their indulgences. The same argument can be made for fatty fast foods and sugar products but I won't go there,,,,yet.
    I enjoy a glass of red wine and the occasional beer and I am prepared to pay a little more for these vices. Thankfully I gave up smoking in 1974, I think it was 74, when the Federal Budget increased the price of a packet of cigarettes to 50cents. I do not understand how people can afford to smoke nowadays when it is round about $1 per cigarette.
    Goes to show increasing taxes will not necessarily reduce consumption of alcohol or tobacco but it will give governments the means to pay for the adverse effects of that consumption.
    Not a Bludger
    9th Jan 2018
    4:54pm
    OMG - another holier than thou dogooder - save me,someone, from this politically correct rubbish.
    Anonymous
    10th Jan 2018
    1:13pm
    It will also increase the deprivation and abuse of families of habitual drinkers, and drive increased family breakdown and even crime by battlers desperate to find ways to cover the cost of their drinking habit. More people will resort to lower cost substitutes that may be far more harmful - such as home brews that, if not made in ideal conditions, can easily result in poisoning.

    The proposal appears to target the less costly alcohol products that the lower paid typically indulge in so, like most proposals of this type, it will hurt the poorest most. It will reduce employment opportunities and profits and therefore impact on taxation revenue from other sources, possibly offsetting some of the claimed gain. While putting more into preventative health is noble, one wonders to what extent that benefit will be offset by higher demand for support from abused and deprived families of drinkers who will sustain their habit by taking more from the family food, rent and clothing budget.

    Do-gooders always resort to simplistic solutions, ignoring the wider consequences of their proposals. Prohibition didn't work, and neither will making alcohol unaffordable. It's been widely evidenced that taking beer away from the worker dramatically reduces productivity. People need their pleasures. The fact that some take indulgence too far is not a sensible reason to deprive an entire population of what may well be an ''evil'', but one that many consider a necessary one.

    9th Jan 2018
    5:13pm
    Jim D - never read such dangerous nonsense - what rock are you living under? How can any sane person compare alcohol use/abuse to ice use/abuse? One is manufactured under strict quality control conditions and regulated; and the other - ice - is manufactured in exactly the opposite circumstances - no comparison what so ever! The use of alcohol in our society is also a great employment opportunity for so many in the hospitality industry. Ice on the other hand is peddled by the dregs of our society, and is designed to drag the user down. I say arrest and imprison users of Ice, and that epidemic would clear up. no users - therefore no buyers - and the dealers are out of business!
    Anonymous
    9th Jan 2018
    6:14pm
    Big Al ... Visit any police station, any hospital, any women's refuge, road accident scenes, pub assaults, funeral parlors etc etc etc and you'll see the endemic devastation of alcohol use throughout the near entirety of society.

    No other drug in the history of mankind has had a more devastatingly negative effect on society. Over the past 10 decades dozens of thousands of people have died on our roads due to alcohol use .... and that's just a mere "one" of the thousands of negative results of alcohol use on society.

    Just like cigarette manufactures/sellers have made huge profits and provided lots of jobs, alcohol manufactures/sellers have made huge profits and provided lots of jobs .... but at the cost of deaths, deaths, deaths and more deaths and suffering on a huge scale throughout society for many long decades.

    Alcohol is a killer drug, tobacco is a killer drug. This is a "fact". Because someone drinks alcohol all their life and never killed anyone whilst driving drunk or never assaulted his wife while drunk does NOT mean alcohol is perfectly ok. And because someone smokes cigarettes all their life and never got lung cancer does NOT mean tobacco is perfectly ok. Talk to any doctor or policeman.
    Jim
    9th Jan 2018
    7:08pm
    Victorian police reported in 2016 that illicit drugs now account for the same ammount of deaths on our roads as alcohol and they expect the trend towards drugs being the cause of road deaths to continue. I mentioned in an earlier post that I have some experience in working with trauma victims, this was as a volunteer, there is no doubt that alcohol has been a major cause of a lot of the incidents mentioned, but drug addicted people are quickly overtaking the alcohol related incidences, and the care needed for both the offenders and the victims of drug induced violence is becoming more of a burden on society than alcohol abuse, as others have already mentioned alcohol is produced under controlled conditions, drugs are not which makes them far more dangerous than alcohol.
    Anonymous
    9th Jan 2018
    7:39pm
    Medical and scientific fact ... alcohol is a "drug". It's a mind altering recreational "drug".

    9th Jan 2018
    8:23pm
    what would we do without a more political correct contributor to these columns as for jimmy b, I fully agree with jimmy our courts should have the gallows ready for those who have the gall of taking pleasure in having an alcoholic drink and for those who smoke, only the rack and guilliotine should be good enough for them, fancy anybody finding pleasure in using these legal substances, as for those who are calling jimmy a wowser or do-gooder, don't be ashamed, jimmy's greatest pleasure is to make everybody's life as miserable as his own, by his own words jimmy is happiest when visiting funeral parlors, as for me, I don't mind having an ale, Cheers,
    Anonymous
    10th Jan 2018
    12:24am
    Heemskerk99 ..... you have the human right to ingest, inject or smoke the drug of your choice, be it legal or illegal. I have said in previous posts in this topic that drugs should "not" be banned and that we have "no choice" other than to live with recreational drug use within society.
    Blossom
    12th Jan 2018
    8:06pm
    The tax on alcohol increases on a regular cycle. It has for quite a few years, as has the tax on tobacco. I'm surprised the people haven't worked it and avoided paying the extra taxes on them.


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