A Government-funded report in Australia has found that the price of wine needs to be raised to combat growing levels of alcoholism, after it was found that wine can be purchased for as little 30 Australia cents a drink (about the same in US$), making it cheaper than water.
The report comes in the midst of growing public concerns about Australia’s binge-drinking culture.
The Australian National Preventive Health Agency has been asked by the Government to set a floor price on not just wine, but alcohol across the board.
Under the system, the cheapest bottle of wine would be AUS$9.75, and the cheapest four-liter cask would be AUS$52.
Western Australia’s Police Commissioner stated in the report that there were links between alcohol prices and traffic crash outcomes, violence, crime and alcohol-related disease and injury.
The Consumers Health Forum wants the alcohol price raised, but says it should be done through the tax system – so the money raised does not go to retailers and manufacturers but can be used by the Government to address the harm caused by alcohol misuse.
Maybe I’m in a minority when I say this, but countries always seem to come to the conclusion that raising the price of alcohol (through taxes), rather than placing more of an emphasis on alcohol education in the first place, is the way forward. Certainly the latter is more of a long-term goal, and the former has some blatant immediate perks for the Government; however there’s no doubt in my mind that stricter penalties for businesses serving underage drinkers and emphasizing alcohol education (from a young age, both in the home and at school) is a much better strategy. I just hope the Australian Government spend the funds that they’ve collected on alcohol wisely!