For decades, ‘Happy Hour’ has been a tradition at bars, clubs and pubs around the nation. Many people flock to establishments to take advantage of alcoholic beverages at lower prices. However, the future of ‘Happy Hour’ is in doubt, following a radical new tax plan that has been suggested.
The Foundation for Alcohol for Alcohol Research and Education believes that increasing the cost of alcohol would assist the Government in saving money and discourage Australians from drinking as much.
Yahoo News reports that beer sold in large quantities such as large kegs is currently taxed at a lower rate than beer sold in smaller quantities. They’re proposing a 10 per cent tax increase on all alcoholic beverages, regardless of size.
Furthermore, they want to see a nationwide ban on ‘Happy Hour’. While many would argue that it’s a fun tradition that has been around for years, others believe that the reduced price encourages more people to binge drink.
On a recent episode of Sunrise, CEO of The Foundation for Alcohol Michael Thorn explained that beer wasn’t the real issue they were trying to raise. “The Foundation’s submission to the Commonwealth Government as part of the lead up to the 2018 budget really targets cheap booze, in particular bulk wine,” he said.
“We have known for more than a decade that there’s a major problem and that there’s more than a dozen Government reviews that recommend Government fix the alcohol taxation system.”
This would result in $2.9 billion in extra taxes under the proposed plan, with Thorn suggesting that much of the revenue would be returned to the health system, with a particular focus on drugs and alcohol issues. He also hinted that some money would be used to assist doctors and nurses to address the myriad of health problems Aussies are facing.
While nothing has yet been finalised, Thorn said that it wouldn’t be easy to get the tax plan through the current political environment. “But I am optimistic that if we keep pointing to the sorts of benefits we can achieve from the sorts of policy proposals that we’ve advanced, that we will win this argument.”
According to the ABS, alcohol consumption holds a special place in Australian culture. More than 80 per cent of Aussie adults consume alcohol annually, with males more likely to drink than females. Victoria Health adds that more than 5,000 people die of alcohol-related deaths each year. A further 157,132 people are hospitalised due to grog.