After forcing the Australian government to back down on plans to increase excise on beer, Democrat leader, Meg Lees has announced plans for a new rehabilitation foundation, to be funded from refunded beer excise.

Senator Lees has been reported as saying the Alcohol Education and Rehabilitation Foundation would receive $A115m ($55.8m), with the bulk of the funds to be spent over the next four years on preventing alcohol abuse.

A further $A5m ($2.42m) would be spent on grants to preserve historic hotels in regional and country areas, which do not have any income from gaming machines.

Its decision not to increase beer excise means the government now has to hand over an estimated $180m, which has already been collected in excise to the breweries. Earlier corporate affairs manager for Lion Nathan, Gabriel McDowell said: "We always said that we would set up an independent foundation, a charitable foundation."

Lees said: "It is money that should never have been collected."