The Australasian Association of Convenience Stores (AACS) has labelled the ALP’s plans to raise the tax on legal tobacco to meet funding promises as, “lacking imagination and being blatantly discriminatory”.
AACS CEO, Jeff Rogut, called Labor’s plans to increase taxation on tobacco –as another example of one part of the community being isolated and demonised, simply for using a legal product.
“There is no greater example in the current day and age of lazy, shallow and hypocritical policy than taxing smokers to pay for whatever politicians think will garner votes,” said Rogut.
“No longer even masking the hypocrisy of their actions, some politicians turn their ire blindly towards smokers, not for a moment considering that these adults already pay more than their fair share of tax, nor that many retailers will be potentially affected as those who choose to smoke are pushed more and more to the black market.”
Rogut suggested that Australia is one of the world’s strongest markets for illicit tobacco due to the way legal tobacco is treated from an excise and regulatory perspective.
“The amount of illegal tobacco being sold and consumed in this country has exploded since plain packaging was introduced and as the endless series of tax hikes take a compound effect.
“What politicians have thus far failed to acknowledge is that, with the rise in the illicit tobacco market, the amount of tax revenue that goes uncollected by government rises too.
“And retailers who responsibly sell a legal product bear the financial brunt of lost sales. It is short-sighted policy that must be resisted.”