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Tax man sips deep at pubs’ expense

Friday, 7th September, 2018

Jake Trengove pours a beer at the Mulga Hill Tavern. PICTURE: Emily Ferguson Jake Trengove pours a beer at the Mulga Hill Tavern. PICTURE: Emily Ferguson

By Emily Ferguson

People are drinking less than they have in more than 50 years, but that is not much of a surprise to one local publican who said it was now cheaper to buy drugs than drink. 

Australian Bureau of Statistics (BOS) data shows that 186 million litres of pure alcohol was consumed in Australia in 2016/2017, the lowest since 1961/1962. 

Dean Trengove, owner of the Mulga Hill Tavern and an Australia Hotels Association delegate, said people were drinking more responsibly these days and when they did, they wanted quality.

But he said the main reason was the rising price of drinks, courtesy of government.

“With heightened compliance and the ever-increasing tax burden, it’s actually cheaper to indulge in illicit substances than legal ones,” Mr Trengove said.

The BOS data shows the biggest contributor to the overall fall in alcohol consumption is the drastic drop in the volume of beer being consumed. 

In 2016/2017 people drank 23.4 per cent or 2.6 million litres less pure alcohol from beer, compared to the previous year. 

But beer was still the drink of choice, (just) accounting for 39.2 per cent of all alcohol consumed in the year. 

Wine was close behind at 38.3 per cent, followed by spirits at 13.1, ready-to-drink beverages at 6.0 and cider at 3.4. 

The booziest year on record was 1974/1975, the so-called ‘peak beer’ period with consumption hitting the equivalent of 500 stubbies per person.

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