07 May 2001

United front

The opposition to GST brought them together: Australian Associated Brewers is suing the government to force it to pay back more than A$100 million (US$56 million) in beer taxes. The Australian government increased taxes on beer on 1 July 2000 (see the article "More buzz in Shiraz" in this issue) which brought up the price of draught beer by as much as 9 % whereas the tax on packaged beer was raised by only 1.9 %. The brewers argue that the Prime Minister John Howard broke a promise that the beer would only rise the uniform 1.9 % when the new tax took effect. Lion Nathan, Australia’s No 2 brewer, released a statement saying that the amount of beer sold on premises fell 4 % in the second half of 2000 from the same period a year ago. Grassroots activism, Australian style..

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