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AUS: Senate passes RTD drinks tax hike

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Australia is set to reintroduce a 70% tax hike on ready-to-drink (RTD) alcoholic beverages, after the country's Senate approved the proposal.

Senators today (13 August) voted in favour of raising tax on RTDs by almost 70%, from A$39.36 per litre of alcohol content to A$66.67. The scope of the tax will include malt and wine-based RTDs.  

The move makes permanent a 70% tax rise on RTDs introduced by the Government 12 months ago, as part of its plan to tackle excess alcohol consumption among young people.

In March, Senators voted down the tax rise, by 32 votes to 31, but the Government reintroduced the measure in April and has succeeded in garnering enough support to push it through the second time around.

Today's Government victory is a blow to drinks producers, who had argued vociferously against the rise. It means that the Government will keep the A$300m already collected as a result of the tax hike over the last year.

In January this year, US-based Fortune Brands said that the RTD tax rise had played a significant part in a 16% drop in fourth quarter sales at its spirits arm, Beam Global Spirits & Wine.

 


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