AAR calls for stop to illegal tobacco

The Alliance of Australian Retailers (AAR) has called on the federal Government to stop the tobacco black market.

The AAR says that four planned hikes of 12.5 per cent in tobacco excise taxes, on top of the four pre-existing increases of 12.5 per cent introduced by the Rudd-Gillard governments, were encouraging the illegal tobacco trade.

“Now at 14 per cent of the total Australian market consumption, illegal tobacco would seem to be the most obvious first place to tackle in order to reduce smoking, support the national public health policy and legitimate retailers who continue to do the right thing,” Alliance of Australian Retailers General Manager Chiang Lim said.

The KPMG report ‘Illicit Tobacco in Australia‘ outlined that the Government continued to lose tobacco excise revenue to the black market, with $1.49 billion lost in 2015, up from $1.35 billion the year before.

“The AAR appreciates that the 2016 federal budget has earmarked $7.7 million over two years to expand the Department of Immigration and Border Protection’s Tobacco Strike Team,” Mr Lim said, “But why only two years, will that be enough to combat organised crime, and will that completely stop unethical retailers from selling cheaper illegal tobacco in contrast to ever-increasing retail prices of the legal products?”

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