Ashley McIntyre and Mick Cole will soon be paying more for a cold one, but alcopops will drop in price. Photo: MAX FLEET pub1801a
Ashley McIntyre and Mick Cole will soon be paying more for a cold one, but alcopops will drop in price. Photo: MAX FLEET pub1801a

Brewhaha over beer price rise

A PLAN to increase beer prices and cut down on the cost of alcopops is leaving a sour taste in the mouths of Bundaberg residents who enjoy a quiet drink.

The proposal is part of a review of the national tax system by treasury boss Ken Henry, which would controversially cut the price of alcopops by up to 8.5 per cent.

Mr Henry is believed to have recommended replacing Australia’s antiquated and haphazard alcohol-excise regime with a cleaner “volumetric” system based on alcohol content.

The proposed tax rates would lift the price of full-strength beer by about 5%.

But yesterday Ashley McIntyre and Mick Cole, enjoying a couple of beers at the Old Bundy Tavern, were not buying the reasoning behind the proposed price changes.

“They should take alcopops off the market,” Mr McIntyre said.

“They’re what is messing young people up.”

Mr McIntyre said cutting the price of alcopops would encourage young people to drink more.

“It’s so easy to drink, it tastes like cordial,” he said.

“It’s crazy.”

Mr Cole agreed.

“They should drop the price of beer so it’s more available,” he said.

“That would encourage people to drink less alcopops.”

Under Mr Henry’s plan, the taxes would increase in accordance with the alcohol content at six key points: 3.5%, 5%, 7%, 10%, 15% and 22%.

An analysis of the plan by accounting firm KPMG for the Distilled Spirits Industry Council of Australia found the proposed incremental tax rates would lift the price of full-strength beer by about 5%.

Wine prices would probably rise about 1% and spirits, which are already heavily taxed, would remain about the same.

But the price of alcopops, which have been singled out by the Federal Government for encouraging binge drinking in young people, particularly in young women, could fall by up to 8.5%.

The plan would see the price of a full-strength schooner of beer at licensed premises rise from $4.20 to about $4.41.

The price of a full-strength pot would rise from $3.10 to $3.26.

Australian Hotels Association spokesman Hamish Arthur said they believed the current alcohol-tax system should remain in place.



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