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‘Sin’ taxes up

Smokers will pay more than $10 a pack, and drinkers more than $20 for a bottle of 700ml spirits from today, as part of an automatic tax increase introduced more than 30 years ago.

Beer drinkers aren’t exempt either, paying more than $15 in taxes on a carton of full-strength 375ml cans. If you buy a slab of pre-mixed spirit cans, you’ll be handing over more than $34 to the government.

The changes are part of an automatic rise in indexation setup 30 years ago by then prime minister, Bob Hawke, and is expected to pour millions into the shaky federal government budget. The tax is indexed to the Consumer Price Index (CPI) and adjusted twice a year.

Retailers, shopkeepers and bar staff will be forced to collect the extra tax, but other factors such as competition, profit margins and business expenses could mean that consumers may pay more or less than the tax rise and can vary between brands.

Wine drinkers can rejoice for now, as taxes on wine are not affected by the changes to the so-called ‘sin’ excise.

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