Alcopop tax to be scrutinised in Parliament

Posted by Daniel Palmer on 11th February 2009

The controversial legislation to raise taxes on alcopops by 70 per cent has been introduced to Parliament, almost a year after the Federal Government started collecting the extra taxes.The Government raised the tax on pre-mixed alcoholic drinks, commonly referred to as ‘alcopops’, from $39 a litre to $66 last April, due to concerns that they were promoting binge drinking amongst young people. Since then the merit of the tax has been a keen source of debate, especially since some alcohol manufacturers found a loophole in the new tax which allows them to create similar products to alcopops using the alcohol extracted from beer.

Federal Health Minister Nicola Roxon claims the tax is helping their bid to tackle the binge drinking issue. “Alcopops are targeted directly at young people and underage drinkers. This is, quite simply, indefensible,” Ms Roxon suggested. “Community leaders, police and health experts alike agree that action needs to be taken.”

Ms Roxon advised that Australian Taxation Office figures suggest overall sales of spirits have fallen by almost 8 per cent since the tax hike was introduced.

The legislation is likely to meet resistance in the Senate, however, with the Opposition indicating they will vote against the tax.