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AUS: Cidermakers cry foul over spirits industry's tax call - report

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Australia's cidermakers and spirits producers have locked horns over alcohol tax ahead of next month's Budget, according to local reports. 

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Trade group Cider Australia has hit out at spirits producers, who are proposing a “reform” of the tax system which would bring cider taxation in line with spirits, the Sydney Morning Herald reported this week. The Distilled Spirits Industry Council of Australia is proposing a volumetric tax system based on the alcohol content of all drinks. 

Traditional cider in Australia currently falls under the wine equalisaiton tax (WET) system, separate to spirits.

A Cider Australia spokesperson told the paper the DSICA proposal is "misleading, disingenuous and deceptive".

The cider group has written to MPs complaining about the proposal. "Cider Australia has significant concerns in relation to the push for change to cider taxation, which is being heavily lobbied by the DSICA," the letter reads. 

"This body [the DSICA] is made up almost exclusively of multi-national companies who rely on primary industry in their home countries, but are lobbying the Australian government to impose a killer tax on the Australian cider industry.”

The spirits industry argues traditional ciders are affecting its market because of the price advantage the category has, it was reported.

In the UK last month, the goverment abandoned its duty escalator on beer, but left it in place for wine, spirits and cider.  The Wine & Spirit Trade Association subsequently claimed the move could be illegal.


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