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Thursday, 4 October 1984
Page: 1294

Senator Walsh —On 7 June 1984 (Hansard page 2759), Senator Archer asked me, as Minister representing the Treasurer, a question without notice concerning the Government's attitude towards encouraging the consumption of lower alcohol beer and levying appropriate and proportionate excise charges.

The Treasurer has provided the following information in answer to the honourable senator's question:

The tax arrangements for low alcohol beer were changed in the 1984-85 Budget. First, to correct an anomaly, a sales tax of 20 per cent was introduced on very low alcohol beer (beer containing not more than 1.15 per cent alcohol by volume) , which was previously both exempt from sales tax and not subject to excise duty . The rate of sales tax on very low alcohol beer is now the same as that which applies to most other carbonated soft drinks. The 20 per cent rate of sales tax on very low alcohol beer compares with the sales tax equivalent of the excise on full strength beer which is around 80 per cent for bottled beer and around 150 per cent for bulk beer.

Secondly, excise rates on beer have been restructured in recognition of the reduced alcohol content on light beer and the consequent lower costs to society associated with its consumption. The rate of excise on beer with an alcohol content of not more than 3.8 per cent by volume, but more than 1.15 per cent by volume, has been reduced from 66 cents per litre to 58 cents per litre, equivalent to a reduction of about 3 cents a can.