Strategy 'out of whack'
21 December 2017
The draft National Alcohol Strategy is out-of-whack with modern Australian drinking behaviour.
Putting the prices up on everything is regressive and doesn’t actually achieve desired health outcomes, which require tackling those few who misuse alcohol.
Australians already pay amongst the highest excise on beer in the world, in addition to a 10% GST on top of that.
In 2015-16, taxes on beer drinkers alone netted the Australian Government almost $2.4 billion. Further, the excise on beer is forever increasing, with indexation rising twice every year.
The Australian Government facts show that today’s drinkers in Australia are more discerning, better informed and better equipped socially regarding
responsible alcohol consumption than ever before.
Overwhelmingly, the moderate consumption message has sunk in:
- The population-wide premise ignores Australian Bureau of Statistics data that alcohol consumption in Australia has fallen, decade on decade, for more than 40 years - a 25% reduction since the mid-1970s.
- According to the 2016 Australian Institute of Health and Welfare National Drug Strategy Household Survey just 6% of Australians drink daily - down from 10% in 1990s.
- In 2017, 63% of drinkers consume no more than two standard drinks, compared to 48% in 2007.
- The WHO in 2014 reported that Australia is at the low end of the spectrum of heavy episodic drinking (aka binge drinking) compared to culturally similar countries.
- Over the last decade there has been a marked uptake of low- and midstrength beer options - these products now account for one-quarter (24%) of all beer sales in Australia. Industry is continuing to invest in and grow this market.
- The draft NAS makes specific reference to young people and alcohol. However, it ignores the findings of the 2016 AIHW NDSHS (released earlier this year) that demonstrate the dramatic long-term decline in youth alcohol consumption in Australia.
Penalising the vast majority of Australians who drink responsibly in the hope those who drink to excess will drink less, is a flawed approach.
Brewers Association of Australia
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