A report on the social harm caused by alcohol, published by the Department of Health & Ageing, has been released and supports increased tax on alcohol. Commissioned by the previous federal government in 2006, the report shows that $15 billion worth of social harm could be significantly reduced with the introduction of higher taxes on alcohol.
"Young people are more influenced by the price of alcohol, so that increasing the tax rate on alcoholic drinks which are specifically targeted at the youth market (for example, alcopops) is likely to be effective," it says. "There would appear to be strong justification for the April 2008 increase in the Australian tax on pre-mixed drinks by 70%."
Costs of alcohol abuse were estimated by comparing current mortality, morbidity, health costs, workplace productivity, crime levels and road crashes to a hypothetical situation with no alcohol abuse. The Age is reporting this contradicts The Lancet medical journal, which last month said the tax hike would do little to stop binge-drinking by young people, as they would simply switch drinks.
Source: The Age