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Australia to consider new taxation on alcohol

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Canberra, April 3: The Australian government has been urged to consider changes to its alcohol tax and regulation system, a media report said on Monday.

If the changes are incorporated alcohol could be sold at petrol stations, supermarkets and small convenience stores in the country, Xinhua news agency reported. They are currently only available at dedicated ‘bottle shops’.

The single, uniform volumetric tax could halve the tax on more expensive, artisan bottles of gin, vodka and other spirits, while simultaneously increasing the tax on cheaper, readily-attainable “goons” or cask wines.

This was according to a cross-party Senate committee, led by Liberal Democrat Senator David Leyonhjelm.

Leyonhjelm said moving to a single, uniform tax system would not only alleviate confusion, but raise the taxes – upto tenfold – on ‘problem drinks’ such as cask wine.

“Alcohol taxation in Australia is anything but logical. It’s a very confused regulatory environment,” Leyonhjelm told the media over the weekend.

He added that Australia’s drinking culture had moved away from the times of binge drinking to get drunk, and said drinkers needed to start being treated like adults when it comes to alcohol taxation.

“The level of alcohol consumption is actually going down in Australia. There is a lot less binge drinking,” he said.

“There’s no reason to believe that just because it’s available in more locations that people will drink more,” he said.

The government has previously admitted the current taxation system is “complex”.

Australian Tax Office Deputy Commissioner Tim Dyce, however, has said that while it might benefit buyers of high-end alcohols, those buying mid-range wines might end up paying more.

“We might all drink more Grange because it would come down in price, but something else, a lower priced wine with the same amount of alcohol, might potentially go up in price,” Dyce added.

(IANS)

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