AUS: Distilled Spirits Industry Council echoes RTD refund pledge
The Distilled Spirits Industry Council of Australia (DSICA) has followed Foster's Group in pledging to donate any tax refunds they receive in the country to DrinkWise Australia.
The trade body, whose membership includes Diageo's, Maxxium's and Suntory's Australian units, made the announcement today (19 March), following the collapse of the country's tax hike on RTDs earlier this week.
In April last year, the Government introduced a 70% rise in the tax rate of RTDs, in an attempt to improve public health and cut young peoples' alcohol consumption. But a vote in the Senate yesterday saw the move defeated, with 32 votes against beating the 31 in favour. Distillers are now expected to receive in the region of A$300m (US$203.4m) after the defeat.
"As an organisation, we have said that all revenue collected from the tax should be returned to the community for use in alcohol-related harm-minimisation programs," said DSICA's chairman, Michael McShane.
"The debate surrounding the failed RTD tax has made us even more determined as an industry to work harder with the Government and health groups to bring about genuine and comprehensive solutions to binge-drinking."
Drinkwise Australia is an evidence-based organisation focused on promoting change towards a more responsible drinking culture in Australia. The organisation has confirmed it will accept the funds to continue their education and intervention programmes.
Earlier today, Foster's Group said it intends to donate its refund - expected to be in the region of A$20m - to "direct support for responsible drinking, alcohol education (and assistance) and health awareness programmes".
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