Floor price 'punishing sensible drinkers'

Christopher Chan

HOSPITALITY leaders claim a minimum price for alcohol in Australia in a bid to combat the nation's drinking culture will only punish the overwhelming majority of sensible drinkers.

The Australian National Preventative Health Agency is currently investigating whether the Federal Government should set a minimum floor price for alcohol.

The agency found pricing is one of the most effective ways to influence alcohol consumption.

The investigation into alcohol pricing comes as authorities battle Australia's drinking culture in the face of the increasing alcohol affordability.

But many industry groups believe a floor price is not the answer.

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In a submission to ANPHA, Clubs Australia argued a minimum floor price was "socially regressive".

"...a minimum floor price will unfairly punish the overwhelming majority of Australians who consumer alcohol responsibly, particularly those from lower socio-economic backgrounds who tend to purchase cheaper alcohol," the submission stated.

Instead, Clubs Australia recommended an evidence-based education program targeting younger drinkers.

Unsurprisingly Carlton and United Breweries agrees.

"Targeted measures, including strictly enforcing appropriate current laws and introducing policies to identify and treat those at risk, are far more effective measures that population-wide measures aimed at reducing misuse," its submission read.

However, the Consumers Health Forum of Australia argues binge drinkers, harmful drinkers and young drinkers are likely to be put off by inflated prices.

According to the Illawarra Local Health District Drug and Alcohol Service , 61% of Generation Y drink with the intention of getting drunk where as 52% of alcohol consumers drank one or two drinks on a typical occasion.

The Service argued the implementation of a population approach would reinforce a positive move in changing Australia's drinking culture.

A final report on a minimum floor price is due in December.

Topics:  alcohol

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