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Government to re-introduce alcopops measure.



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THE HON NICOLA ROXON MP

Minister for Health and Ageing

THE HON WAYNE SWAN MP

Treasurer

MEDIA RELEASE

15 April 2009

Government to re-introduce Alcopops Measure

Following the effectiveness of the Rudd Government’s alcopops measure, the Government will re-introduce this measure into the Parliament as part of its ongoing commitment to the fight against binge-drinking.

The measure - which has been widely backed by health experts - has seen a 35 per cent fall in the consumption of alcopops and a significant fall in spirits consumption. The Government is not prepared to abandon these gains in a vital area of public health, despite Mr Turnbull’s efforts to obstruct this measure and protect the alcopops industry.

Along with health experts, police superintendents and community groups across the country, the Rudd Government does not think sugary, colourful drinks targeted squarely at underage drinkers deserve the tax break provided by the Liberals in 2000.

The measure is a vital part of the Rudd Government’s broader strategy to tackle teenage binge-drinking with advertisements, grassroots initiatives and an unprecedented investment in preventative health.

When Parliament sits again in May, the Government will:

• Introduce a new tariff proposal with effect from 14 May 2009, ensuring the alcopops measure remains in place into the future. The Government will then introduce legislation to confirm the measure in the same session of Parliament; and • Introduce legislation to validate the revenue collected between 27 April 2008 and

13 May 2009.

As the Government has previously made clear, a measure that is good for twelve months is a measure that is good into the future.

That is why we will seek to both validate the revenue collected so far, as well as pursue the measure into the future.

Simply validating the revenue collected thus far, without moving to continue the measure, as proposed by the distillers and copied by the Liberals, is pure political opportunism.

The measure will also continue to ensure that all spirits are taxed at the same rate whether they are consumed as alcopops or full strength spirits, hence closing the tax loophole provided to the alcopops industry by the previous government.

Contact: Matt Martyn-Jones 0419 418 394 (Treasurer’s Office) Sean Kelly 0417 108 362 (Minister Roxon’s Office)