The Alcohol Policy Coalition (APC) has urged the government to reform alcohol taxation in this year’s Federal Budget.
The APC claims that increasing taxes on alcohol will reduce overall alcohol consumption and thus alcohol-related illness and injury. The group said that cider and cheap wine should be taxed in the same way as alcopops. After the alcopops tax was reintroduced in 2008, there was a “sharp drop in consumption of these products”, the group said.
“The current system favours high-strength products and practically shouts young drinkers a six pack of cider. When alcohol-related harm is at an all-time high, it’s time to look at the levers that encourage people to drink, and we know price is a very effective one,” said Legal Policy Adviser for the APC Sondra Davoren.
“The APC would like to see the government adopt a volumetric tax, which would tax all alcoholic beverages based on alcohol content and create a financial incentive to purchase lower alcohol products. A volumetric tax would effectively abolish the Wine Equalisation Tax, which encourages the production of cheap, bulk wine and cider, as the tax is based on price rather than alcohol content.”
Davoren said the current tax system has led to cider “increasingly filling the gap left by alcopops”, citing an 18% increase in cider consumption as the result of the alcopops tax.
The APC also wants to see the government implement a minimum floor price for alcohol to prevent heavy discounting, as well as increasing the price of products such as cask wine that are associated with alcohol-related harm.