Australia to raise tobacco tax by 60% over 4 years; a pack of cigarettes will cost $22.75 from Dec 1
SYDNEY (REUTERS) - The Australian government said on Thursday it will increase tobacco taxes by 60 per cent over the next four years as it seeks to return the budget to a surplus in 2016/17, dealing another blow to cigarette manufacturers.
The move, which the government said is also aimed at battling high rates of smoking-related cancer, follows the introduction in Australia last year of the world's toughest cigarette plain packaging laws.
The first of four 12.5-percent increases will take effect on Dec 1, raising the average cost of a pack of 20 cigarettes by A$2.20 (S$2.54) to A$19.70 (S$22.75). Further increases will kick in on Sept 1 of the following three years.
Treasury said the increases will raise A$5.3 billion over the next four budget years.