Posted: 12:12 pm on 4th May 2015

beerThere’s an awful lot of drinking going on in the name of government funded research, however it seems the Australian taxpayer is the only one getting hammered in this round.

Forget liver disease, heart disease, cancer, drink-driving and all the other negative effects of alcohol. The Australian Research Council (ARC) has been using its limited resources to focus on the more important aspects of public life: improving the taste of beer.

A 2014 Australian Research Council grant handed out $355,000 to the ‘beer detectives’ (aka the University of Tasmania and Hop Products) to aid in the research and development of new beers with ‘distinctive and desirable new flavours’.

This isn’t the only time that booze has come to the forefront of government research. Waste Watch recently sprung the government giving $451,000 of your hard earned money to a market research council as part of a National Binge Drinking Strategy.

With alcohol being listed as Australia’s number one drug problem for over 50 years, you’d think increasing the allure of beer would be low on their list of priorities.

This is certainly a public cost for private benefit. If private companies such as Hop want to improve their products, then they should bear the costs, not everyday taxpayers. Perhaps Hop Products is out of pocket after their $15 million investment in a new processing plant.

The ARC has spending watchdogs wondering whether they had a few beers themselves before they handed out this grant.

Katie Wilson

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