Big win for smokers and drinkers – no increase in excise on ciggies and beer

Big win for drinkers and smokers as ciggies and booze are spared a tax hike for first time in nearly a decade

  • Josh Frydenberg is first Treasurer since 2012 to have avoided excise increase
  • Tobacco excise was increased by 12.5 per cent every year from 2013 to 2020
  • Cigarette taxes went up by 25 per cent in 2010 – first increase since mid-1990s

Australia’s smokers and drinkers have been spared a tax hike on Budget night for the first time in almost a decade despite a string of forecast deficits.

Josh Frydenberg is the first Treasurer since 2012 to have avoided raising excise duty – colloquially known as sin taxes – for some easy revenue. 

Since 2013, both sides of politics had annually increased excise duty on tobacco and alcohol.

A month before losing the election that year, former prime minister Kevin Rudd and his treasurer Chris Bowen announced Labor’s intention to introduce an annual 12.5 per cent tobacco excise over the next four years.

Australia’s smokers and drinkers have been spared a tax hike on Budget night for the first time in almost a decade despite a string of forecast deficits

Smokers were hit just before Christmas 2013 followed by an annual sting on September 1 each year after that.

Mr Rudd’s Liberal successors Tony Abbott and Malcolm Turnbull continued that policy, through their treasurers Joe Hockey and Scott Morrison.

Mr Frydenberg himself persisted with the annual 12.5 per cent excise increase in his 2019 and 2020 Budgets.

But on Tuesday night, no excise increase was announced.

Tobacco excise will stay at $1.10350 for every 0.8 gram stick.

Alcohol will stay at $44.45 per litre.

Treasury is expecting cash receipts for tobacco to fall by $230million to $15.06billion in 2021-22.

But the Budget papers expected revenue for beer to increase by $90million to $2.56billion as cash receipts for spirits climbed by $400million to $3.07billion during the next financial year.  

With China punishing Australian wine exporters with tariffs of up to 200 per cent, the federal government is providing $224million in support, until 2025, in the form of an excise refund scheme.

Tobacco excise will stay at $1.10350 for every 0.8 gram stick. Alcohol will stay at $44.45 per litre

Tobacco excise will stay at $1.10350 for every 0.8 gram stick. Alcohol will stay at $44.45 per litre

Every treasurer during the past decade has increased excise.

In 2010 Labor’s Wayne Swan, serving under Kevin Rudd, increased tobacco excise by 25 per cent from $0.2622 to $0.32775 per stick as part of a one-off revenue-raising measure after the worst of the Global Financial Crisis.

This was the first major increase in tobacco excise, beyond inflation, since the 1995 Budget when Paul Keating was prime minister and Ralph Willis was treasurer during an era when a 30-packet of Winfield Blues and Benson and Hedges cigarettes cost $6.50.

In 2021, a 25 pack of Marlboro Gold cigarettes costs close to $50.

Mr Frydenberg on Tuesday announced a Budget deficit of $106.6billion for 2021-22 making up 5 per cent of gross domestic product.

Last year, he unveiled a Budget deficit of $213.7billion making up 11 per cent of GDP, the highest since World War II.

On Tuesday night, this was downwardly revised to $161billion or 7.8 per cent of GDP.

Deficits were forecast out to 2025, by which time Australia would have gone 18 years without a Budget being in the black. 

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Big Brother’s Daniel Hayes reveals he struggled with alcohol addiction as a teenager

‘I’m in recovery still to this day’: Big Brother ‘villain’ Daniel Hayes makes heartbreaking confession he struggled with alcohol addiction as a teenager

Big Brother housemate Daniel Hayes has made a heartbreaking confession about his battle with alcohol addiction as a teenager.

The 48-year-old described himself as a ‘blackout drinker’ and revealed he was sent to rehab at 19 after being hospitalised several times.

‘I grew up in a family where there was a lot of alcohol and I was a bad drunk,’ he told New Idea.

‘I’m in recovery still to this day’: Big Brother’s Daniel Hayes (pictured) revealed he struggled with alcohol addiction as a teenager

‘I would wake up forgetting what I’d done the night before. I remember shaking in the morning and having another beer to take away the shakes.’

Daniel was sent to rehab at the age of 19 and said he hasn’t had a ‘single drink or a illegal drug since’.

‘I see myself as a recovering alcoholic and drug addict – I’m in recovery still to this day. I’ve had to work on myself and continue to do that every day,’ he admitted.

Daniel is arguably one of the most controversial housemates to appear on this year’s season of Big Brother Australia.

Admission: The 48-year-old described himself as a 'blackout drinker' and revealed he was sent to rehab at 19 after being hospitalised several times

Admission: The 48-year-old described himself as a ‘blackout drinker’ and revealed he was sent to rehab at 19 after being hospitalised several times

Last week, the real estate agent revealed he has become the victim of online trolling.

Uploading a video to his Instagram story, Daniel said high profile people have been sending him hateful messages and he finds it ‘really sad’.

In the footage, Daniel admits he is having a blast on Big Brother, before revealing the dark side that comes with reality TV.

‘I’ve been trolled a lot, including by some pretty high profile people. I won’t name them, but they’re pretty sort of high profile and it’s really sad, he says in the video.

Bullying: It comes after the real estate agent revealed that he has become the victim of online trolling last week

Bullying: It comes after the real estate agent revealed that he has become the victim of online trolling last week

Daniel explains that he finds the hypocrisy of some of the influencers sending him hate quite amusing.

‘I really find it, the hypocrisy of some of these high profile people – how they talk about mental health issues and how they’re being trolled themselves yet they’re out there trolling other people – it’s quite amusing really,’ he said. 

Daniel concluded his post, warning his trolls: ‘If you troll me, I’m going to screenshot it and I’m going to post it online.’

‘I’ve got 130,000 followers, including my YouTube channel. So good luck with your trolling and hopefully you’ll stop it.’

Not impressed! Uploading a video to his Instagram story, Daniel said high profile people have been sending him hateful messages and he finds it 'really sad'

Not impressed! Uploading a video to his Instagram story, Daniel said high profile people have been sending him hateful messages and he finds it ‘really sad’

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Apple may add sensors to monitor blood sugar and alcohol levels in its upcoming Apple Watch

Your Apple Watch may tell you when you’ve had too much to drink or if your blood sugar is too high.

In recent SCC filings, UK medical tech company Rockley Photonics listed Apple as its ‘largest customer,’ which could add its non-invasive sensors to the devices to measure a number of markers in the blood.

The sensors would hide with Apple’s device, laying on the wrist, and monitor blood pressure, blood sugar and alcohol levels.

The tech giant’s Apple Watch 6 is the first to read blood oxygen levels, but if the new technology makes it into the upcoming Watch, it could be a game changer for the more than 436 million people worldwide with diabetes. 

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Apple may soon add a blood-glucose monitor to an upcoming smartwatch, allowing diabetics to monitor their blood sugar non-invasively. Sensors on the Apple Watch 6 (pictured) are already capable of measuring blood-oxygen levels

Rockley Photonics’ products track various health functions non-invasively with infrared, including body temperature, blood pressure and glucose, alcohol and oxygen levels in the blood. 

‘We are addressing the visible range and extending it into the infrared range, getting much more accuracy using laser technology compared to LEDs, which opens up a whole range of things,’ Rockley CEO Andrew Rickman told Gazette Byte.      

The company shrunk a benchtop spectrometer down to the size of a chip, allowing it to go ‘a lot further than watches today,’ Rickman added, ‘a lot deeper, but not as deep as a blood draw.’

The mini-spectrometer can detect glucose, urea, lactate and other chemical biomarkers in the blood that are indicators of disease.

Rockley Photonics, makers of chipsets that can detect blood-sugar levels, blood pressure and other diagnostics, recently disclosed that tech giant Apple is its main customer

 Rockley Photonics, makers of chipsets that can detect blood-sugar levels, blood pressure and other diagnostics, recently disclosed that tech giant Apple is its main customer

More than 30 million Americans have Type 2 diabetes, which requires frequent  blood-glucose testing throughout the day.

While the condition most often develops in people over age 45, more and more children, teens, and young adults are developing it, according to the CDC.  

Apple CEO Tim Cook personally test-drove a blood-glucose tracker in 2017, CNBC reported and there were rumors such a monitor would come with the Apple 7, hitting stores in September 2021. 

But Rockley won’t deliver its chipsets for health monitoring features until the first half of 2022 at the earliest, the Telegraph reported. 

Rockley disclosed that Apple accounted for the majority of its revenue in 2019 and 2020 in SEC documents as it prepares for a public offering with a projected valuation of around $1.2 billion.

In February, the company announced it secured $65 million in funding to accelerate growth, bringing its total capital to over $390 million.

‘There is tremendous need for technologies that can enable effective digital health and wellness, driven by the associated benefit provided to population health,’ said Rickman, the UK’s first Internet billionaire.

‘We are committed to our Tier-1 customers and our ability to help expand their product offerings and the innovative data-driven business models these products will enable,’ Rickman added.

Apple already has a patent for a blood pressure monitor, according to Tom’s Guide.  

Released last fall, the Apple Watch 6 touted a number of health features, including a sensor that reads blood-oxygen levels in just 15 seconds, by measuring the color of blood flowing through the wearer’s body.

Blood oxygen is typically used as a measure of fitness and heart health, reflecting how well red blood cells carry oxygen around the body.

Critics have cautioned that relying on a smartwatch in lieu of actual medical care can saddle consumers with unnecessarily medical bills and overtax already frayed healthcare systems.

A 2020 study published in the Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association found that only about 10 percent of Apple Watch owners alerted of an abnormal heart rate were diagnosed with any condition.

The watches may also lead people to ignore legitimate symptoms, like dizziness or shortness of breath, because they haven’t received an official alert.

The heart monitor on the Apple Watch Series 4, released in 2018. lets users perform an electrocardiogram to measure the electrical activity of their heart.

But consumers often don’t understand its sensors are much less sophisticated than the ECG you’d get in a doctor’s office, which gathers data from a dozen areas of your heart. 

Australian booze prices to drop as producers handed big tax cut

Cheaper beer at last! Australia’s world-topping booze prices are finally set to drop with producers handed a big cut to their enormous alcohol tax burden

  • Government announced tax cuts of up to $250,000 a year for liquor producers
  • The move will come into effect from July 1 and will be unveiled in Federal Budget
  • Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said it will benefit smaller brewers and distillers

Booze prices are set to tumble around Australia as alcohol producers are handed a tax cut to boost the hospitality sector’s recovery.

Australian drinkers have long endured some of the most expensive pints in the world, with Perth ranking second only to Oslo, due to enormous taxes. 

But on Saturday the federal government announced tax cuts of up to $250,000 a year for liquor producers hit by coronavirus.

The move will come into effect from July 1, and will be unveiled when the federal budget is handed down later this month.

The move will come into effect from July 1, and will be unveiled when the Federal Budget is handed down later this month

Under the changes, the first $350,000 will be remitted by the government

Under the changes, the first $350,000 will be remitted by the government

Producers will be allowed to sell triple the amount of alcohol before being required to pay excise tax, reducing their overall tax burden.

The government rebates brewers and distillers up to 60 per cent of their tax money when their product leaves the warehouse, up to a cap of $100,000.

However, under the changes, the first $350,000 will be remitted by the government, the Daily Telegraph reported.

The tax cuts will be worth $255 million a year to the liquor industry. 

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said the tax cut would greatly benefit smaller brewers and distillers, which move smaller volumes and may fall under the cap.

‘Australian brewers and distillers are world leaders in their field and this measure is going to assist them to continue to invest, grow and create jobs,’ he said.    

Four Pillars Gin boss Stuart Gregor said the boost for the sector was welcomed by liquor producers. 

‘It’s also a great day for drinkers in Australia because it will give the distillers of Australia a better chance to get their drinks into the bars, clubs, hotels of Australia,’ he said.

‘If they’re particularly small they might be able shave a couple of bucks off the price (and) it probably means they won’t have to raise their prices.’

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said the move will greatly benefit smaller brewers and distillers

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said the move will greatly benefit smaller brewers and distillers

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Kopparberg delights fans with the release of its first vodka range

‘It’s about time!’ Kopparberg cider delights fans with the release of its long-awaited first vodka range available in three fruit flavours

  • Kopparberg has releases its first vodka range priced at £18 RRP for a 70cl bottle
  • Swedish brand is launching the beverage in UK retailers ahead of bank holiday
  • Delighted Instagram users have gushed about rushing to try the three flavours 

Having just released a new tropical mixed fruits cider, Kopparberg has pleasantly surprised fans in the UK with the debut of another range of beverages just days later.

The Swedish alcohol drinks brand announced it’s launching its first range of vodka at £18 a bottle, ahead of the bank holiday weekend.

Kopparberg racked up over 3,000 likes on an Instagram post giving a first look of the colourful thirst quenchers, with many saying ‘it’s about time’ the brand had something for vodka lovers. 

The new range will be available in lemon, passion fruit and the brand’s classic strawberry & lime flavour, which is popular with cider lovers. 

Kopparberg has announced the release of its first ever vodka range (pictured), with flavours including lime, passion fruit as well as strawberry & lime

One person wrote: ‘Wow this would be beautiful got to try some of this’

Another said: ‘Just hire me as a taste tester so I can try everything first lol. You guys always put out the best tasting drinks’

‘Can’t wait to get my hands on some of of these,’ a third added.

Another wrote: ‘Yes  about time had something for the voddy lovers’ 

Kopparberg claims its new range packs a punch in both flavour and colour to give ‘a much-needed shake-up to the bland world of subtly-flavoured vodkas and is set to be your new favourite drink’. 

People have taken to Kopparberg's Instagram account to gush about their eagerness to try the new range of vodkas

People have taken to Kopparberg’s Instagram account to gush about their eagerness to try the new range of vodkas

The vodkas are being sold in eye-catching bottles, with advice to drink over ice with lemonade or a soda mixer.

The brand describes it as a drink for night events such as parties or bars, while its fruit cider is ‘perfect’ for relaxing in the sun.   

A 70 cl bottle of Kopparberg flavoured vodka will be available for £18 RRP and has an ABV of 37.5%. 

Rob Salvesen who is Head of Marketing at Kopparberg, shared the brands excitement for the release, saying: ‘No one does flavour like we do and we weren’t content with the bland and subtly flavoured options currently available on the market. 

‘New Kopparberg Flavoured Vodka offers a bold burst of fruit flavour and colour in a way that only Kopparberg can, resulting in a drink that’s perfect for those moments with mates as the sun goes down and there’s a ripple of excited energy in the air.’

The brand boasts a portfolio of fruit refreshment products, including recently launched Kopparberg Premium Gin and Kopparberg Rums.

Rob Salvesen of Kopparberg said they developed a range of vodkas because they weren't satisfied with the 'subtly flavoured' options currently being sold

Rob Salvesen of Kopparberg said they developed a range of vodkas because they weren’t satisfied with the ‘subtly flavoured’ options currently being sold

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