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Thursday, 7 June 1984
Page: 2760

Senator ARCHER —I ask a question of the Minister representing the Treasurer. Ever since low alcohol beer came on the Australian market suggestions have come from all sides of the community that excise on this beer should be lowered considerably. The fact is that excise is levied on beer because it contains alcohol, but this beer contains considerably less alcohol. Authorities agree that low alcohol beer is not only less injurious to health but also plays an important part in the reduction in the road toll. Can the Minister advise the attitude of the Government on encouraging the consumption of lower alcohol beer by levying appropriate and proportionate excise charges?

Senator WALSH —If I recall correctly, this matter was considered some time last year. But it is conjectural, to say the least, whether a variation in excise would significantly affect the relative consumption of the two products. I do not believe the price elasticities are that high. I will refer the matter to the Treasurer and see whether he thinks it is worth reconsidering.