Melbourne Nightlife Blog

31 July, 2008

Study: Tax the amount of alcohol in a drink

Volumetric taxation of alcohol would be the most cost-effective way to combat binge drinking according to an Australian study funded by Alcohol Education and Rehabilitation (AER) Foundation. Banning alcohol advertising would be the second most cost-effective and sustainable measure with raising the legal drinking age to 21 years coming in third.

Christopher Doran, from the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre, and Theo Vos from the University of Queensland, co-authors of the study say volumetric taxation and banning alcohol advertising should be a high priority.

"We need a fairer system that taxes alcohol as alcohol, rather than having different rates for beer, wine or spirits" said Daryl Smeaton, chief executive of AER in The Age. "Volumetric taxation makes sense from an economic, health and community perspective and is a crucial first step that needs to be taken in order to change patterns of alcohol consumption."

Currently wine has the lowest taxation of any alcohol beverage, based on alcohol content. If a volumetric tax were to be implemented it would be expected to raise the price of wine, and cask wine in particular. According to The Age, winemakers recently told a Senate enquiry that volumetric tax "would lead to a drop of 250,000 tonnes less in demand for grapes and 3,500 people losing their jobs".

Source: The Age

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