• Photo by Elevate on Unsplash
    Photo by Elevate on Unsplash

The Brewers Association is calling out the Australian Tax Office for its heavy taxes on beer as increases are expected this month.

“The latest 2016-17 data on beer and taxes is sobering,” Brewers Association of Australia CEO Brett Heffernan said.

“Despite beer being by far the lowest concentration of all alcohol products, beer excise netted the Australian government the biggest return of $2.38 billion."

Heffernan said Australian beer excises ranked among the highest in the world despite per capita consumption of beer falling 60 per cent over the last four decades, and the excise automatically goes up every February and August.

He said there was also a GST of 10 per cent on the excise, and another 10 per cent GST is paid on the wholesale price.

“All told, that’s a tax trifecta worth a whopping $4.2 billion in just one year, just from beer,” Heffernan said.

The Wine Equalisation Tax (WET) saw $850 million collected from wine in 2016-17, with no increase in the WET since it was introduced almost 20 years ago.

“It’s beer drinkers who are paying the most in alcohol tax despite imbibing a fraction of the alcohol,” he said.

“Serious excise reform that recognises beer’s unique place as the drink of moderation is possible, affordable and long overdue in Australia.”