British American Tobacco Australia (BATA) says the federal government would be financially better off by focussing on stamping out illegal tobacco sales by organised crime gangs, which costs up to $1.1 billion a year in revenue.
The federal government is believed to be planning to remove the duty-free exemptions that apply to tobacco sales at Australia’s airports for in-bound travellers.
The move could deliver the government up to $300 million a year in extra revenue from tobacco products excises.
But BATA says travellers will buy their tobacco in other countries to avoid the 70 per cent excise upon return.
“Financially it’s a no brainer,” BATA spokesman Scott McIntyre said on Tuesday in a statement.
“Rather than targeting the hip pocket of Australian and international tourists, the government could remove a large income source from organised crime gangs.”
At present, the tax-free allowance for in-bound travellers over 18 years is 250 cigarettes, or 250g of tobacco product.