The old saying goes that there are only two things that are inevitable—death and taxes. Well, now Australian beer drinkers are feeling that sting even more. No not death, but taxes. Economist and Emeritus Professor Kym Anderson AC from the University of Adelaide reports that beer is getting a bit more expensive as the government exacts its pound of flesh from every pint you drink.
The Brewers Association of Australia commissioned Anderson to compare how Australian beer tax stacks up with OECD and EU countries. The report revealed that Australians pay the fourth highest beer tax compared with the world’s advanced industrial countries, paying $2.26 per litre of alcohol. That’s 17 times more than Germany, 15 times more than Spain, 7 times more than the US, 6 times more than Canada, and 4 times more than France. It’s also nearly double what beer drinkers pay in New Zealand. “It’s getting to the point that having a beer with your mates is beyond the reach of ordinary Australians,” stated Brett Heffernan, the CEO of Brewers Association of Australia. “By far the biggest cost in the price of a typical Australian beer is tax. It’s not the ingredients, production costs, advertising, transport or even retail overheads and profits…it’s Australian Government tax.” That cost accounts for 42 per cent of the retail price of a carton of beer. The tax accounts for $3.6 billion that the government collects each year.
“Most Aussies simply are not aware they are being hit so hard, or so often, with beer tax,” continues Heffernan. “Beer tax has been going up every six months for the last 35 years. This latest slug is the 71st consecutive hike. Beer tax is now out of control. Simply freezing the six-monthly CPI increases will only lock-in the unreasonably high tax Australians are already paying. The rate of beer tax needs to be addressed if punters are to get genuine relief.” It might be time to raise your hand in protest, before it gets too expensive to raise a cold mug of beer.