Why your beers are going to cost a lot more

January 31, 2017

You won’t be dreaming if you think that favourite beer is slightly more expensive this weekend.


It isn’t the brewery’s fault. Our Federal Government will tomorrow go through its regular February cycle and increase the tax on beer. That six-pack of beer might be five cents dearer the next time you add it to the shopping trolley.


That might not seem a lot but for brewers who are paying the tax it can amount to a lot of revenue they have to count for the powers that be.


But soon it might be double that per can on top of the normal price.


From next year every bottle or can of beer sold in WA will attract a “container deposit” likely to be around the 10-cents mark.


That is the plan of the State Government following NSW’s decision to implement the scheme later this year.


South Australia has had the deposit policy for 40 years and it is also a featured in some parts of the US.


The concept is to reduce litter. The 10c incentive, which can result in big dividends for bulk returns, is supposed to encourage users to recycle their used water bottles, cool drink cans and beer vessels.


But the scheme won’t apply to wine or spirit drinkers who like their drops from a bottle.


“The Government is now confident that what we are proposing will be strongly endorsed by the public of Western Australia, and will be successful in reducing litter and also in providing an incentive for recycling,” said Premier Colin Barnett.


“Drinks containers are commonly littered, which is not only unsightly, but can cause environmental harm.  With a 10 cent refund available, there is a greater incentive to recycle as everyone can benefit from doing the right thing.”

According to government figures South Australia's litter stream has only 2.2% drink containers, compared with 13.2% in WA.


The 10c fee will be built into the cost price of beer, effectively adding 60c to a six-pack. But that cost can be recouped at reverse vending machines and collection points to be set up around the State.


However, Victoria has yet to signal whether it will follow the lead of the other States meaning WA beers sold in Melbourne would not require the 10c levy.


Just another accountancy task bureaucracy has thrust on to brewers, many of whom operate on tight margins.


And we have to hope the WA scheme comes in without the problems that beset Northern Territory when it instituted a container deposit four years ago.


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