Malcolm Turnbull’s new health plan comes at a price

Enjoying a quiet drink at the end of the day or a family gathering is about to get more expensive

Enjoying a quiet drink at the end of the day or a family gathering is about to get more expensive as the government announces a new booze tax across the board.

A 10 per cent hike on all alcohol excise and the scrapping of the wine equalisation tax (WET) is expected to generate $2.9 billion annually.

The government says the increase will help relieve pressure from the health system, which is struggling to cope with the amount of alcohol-induced illnesses.

Wine and cider are currently taxed at a lesser rate than spirits, but these new changes would put an end to that.

Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education (FARE) says the new system will ensure wine and cider drinkers pay their fair share.

“Reforming the alcohol tax system should be a no-brainer,” says FARE chief executive Michael Thorn.

“In fact nine separate government reviews have recommended we do exactly that.

“Increasing taxes on alcohol would not only address the budget deficit but, as research shows, is also the most cost-effective way to reduce alcohol consumption and the resulting harms, particularly among young people and risky drinkers.”

The announcement has been met with disappointment from some Australian wine makers who are already competing with international brands in a saturated market.

Many consumers have also accused the government of masking the tax hike as a health issue, pointing out there is no indication yet of whether or not the money made from the increase would actually go back into the health system.

Others have welcomed the change, saying more needs to be done to address the country’s alcohol problem.

Every day, 15 Australians die and 430 are hospitalised because of alcohol.


* $5.25 for bottle of wine currently under $7

* $4.60 for $7-$15 bottle of wine

* $3.80 for $15-$20 bottle of wine

* 5.5 cents for a schooner of full-strength draught beer

* 16.7 per cent for a can of pre-mixed spirits.

What do you think about the alcohol tax hike? Do you think Australia has a cultural problem with drinking and alcohol?

  1. It is long overdue. Hopefully, this will help tackle some of the problems in our society caused by the OVER consumption of alcohol. Everyone has been on about the health risk of cigarettes for years but have turned a blind eye to alcohol. It not only harms your health eventually (talking about habitual drinkers) but it kills people on the roads & often is the cause of family violence & sometimes death. Not a great lesson to teach the young ones. in my opinion this is only the start & a lot more needs to be done.

    • Lynne Highfield  

      I totally agree with you Janice and I totally agree with the proposed tax hike on alcohol. Smokers have been and continue to be demonised – despite paying literally billions of dollars to the Tax Dept. yet alcohol causes more sickness and violence with very little negative press. One only has to look at the stats for emergency hospital admissions and the increasing stats for domestic violence to see that hopefully this move may deter or reduce out-of-control alcholol abuse.

    • lorretta murphy  

      I agree with you. Alcohol has long been a cause of violence in the family, so this can only help hopefully.

  2. Barb  

    Alcohol consumption in Australia has been falling for some time. The vast majority drink responsibly. It is binge drinking, usually by the young, that is the major problem. Why should all of society have to pay the price for the small minority who abuse alcohol? And will a higher tax reduce alcohol consumption where it needs to be reduced? I doubt it. Winemakers will also struggle again as they compete in a global marketplace. For those of us on a fixed income who enjoy an occasional glass of wine with dinner or a cold beer after mowing the lawn on a hot Queensland afternoon it moves even these small pleasures out of budget.

  3. Dianne Evans  

    I knew once they got all the smokers they would hit grog and they will hit foods that make people gain weight as well ! Sport will come last but lots of cost through injury at sport ! Divide and tax should be a slogan as they start getting people against one group like us evil smokers then it is a success so no stoping them now we will have lots of talk about lock outs at clubs and other things and it will gain momentum and the taxes will follow and get higher and higher all the time.

  4. Norma  

    Politicians should look to themselves before ripping off the Australian taxpayer. I haven’t seen any reduction in their lurks and perks.

  5. Joy Anne Bourke  

    Yes Norma I agree, have been saying this for ages. I see they just ignore the people who vote them in.

  6. jan dodson  

    I’d like the government to prove that the extra money made on the alcohol tax rise all definitely goes on health. Like he said

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