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Three of the nation’s major brewers are calling on the government to reduce, or freeze, taxes on beers at pubs and clubs to help stimulate Australia’s beer economy from end-to-end.

 According to the Brewers Association of Australia, around 85 per cent of all beer sold in Australia is made in Australia,

“The nation’s beer sector is a major driver of economic activity and domestic jobs, supporting vital cogs in industry from Australian farmers upstream to brewing, packaging, distribution and freight, all the way through to retail, tourism and hospitality,” it said.

Coopers Brewery, Lion and Carlton & United Breweries, and as supported through BAA, are calling on a recovery plan for the nation’s brewing industry and hospitality industry as a result of COVID-19, which has contributed to a “significant decline in sales in the June quarter as venues closed or faced severe restrictions on trading”.

“As we recover from COVID-19 Australians will want to return to their favourite local, however, there is a risk that COVID-19 will have caused permanent behaviour change meaning there is a reticence to gather in pubs and clubs. By cutting excise the government has an opportunity to incentivise Australians to get out and about and support our vibrant, world leading hospitality industry,” said BAA chair Peter Filipovic.

“A cut, or at the very least, a freezing of excise will give hospitality businesses a chance to get back on their feet as beer is the most consumed alcoholic beverage in Australia’s licensed venues.”

“The tax on beer has gone up twice annually for the past 35 years forcing Australians to pay the fourth highest beer tax in the industrialised world. 

“This has meant beer, the drink that brings people together, is less and less affordable for everyday Australians. It’s not unusual for a single pint to cost $10 or more nowadays, whereas in the 1970s, a beer would set you back less than a dollar.”

“We need to make a beer at the pub more affordable. It is as simple as that.”

Filipovic said around 440,000 Asutraliasn in the hospitality sector have lost their jobs as a result of COVID-19 restrictions and lockdowns, and the closures of pubs and clubs has not been made up for by retail liquor store sales.

The BAA has also urged the government to consider the following recommendations, in the lead up to next week’s 2020-21 budget announcement:

  • a domestic tourism package appropriately tailored to assist Australia’s hospitality sector;
  • a continuation of JobKeeper; and
  • that government decisions, which materially impact our industry, are considered by the whole of government. To ensure this occurs across all jurisdictions consideration should be given to the matter by the National Federation Reform Council.

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