Alcohol taxes and the real price of liquor should be lifted, health experts will tell federal politicians today.
Members of the National Alliance for Action on Alcohol will meet with 54 MPs and senators, including Health Minister Nicola Roxon, to lobby for alcohol price reform and for the issue to feature prominently in the Government's October tax summit.
The alliance represents 22 health and medical groups, including the College of Surgeons, the Alcohol and Other Drugs Council and the Alcohol Education and Rehabilitation Foundation.
The alliance's manifesto includes a proposal for alcohol taxation to be volumetric, with tax levels increasing as the level of alcohol content increases.
It believes tax changes should not be designed to produce price falls in alcoholic products and there should be a minimum price for alcohol.
Volumetric taxation has been fiercely opposed by sections of the wine industry. Alcohol Education and Rehabilitation Foundation chief executive Michael Thorn yesterday said a crackdown was needed on cheap wine in Australia.
''We in the public health area are very concerned about the other end of the price continuum the $2 and the $3 bottles of wine, and the less than $10 casks of wine, for instance,'' he said,
''We know that heavy drinkers and young people, price is all important. It's bang for buck that determines their purchases and you get more bang for buck by buying cheap wine at the moment.''
Mr Thorn said alcohol pricing should be one of the key issues discussed at the Government's's tax summit.
''They [the Government] have indicated that it will be here as part of the sort of a broad discussion of other what they're describing as social and environmental taxes,'' he said.
''But we think this is such an important issue that there should be an explicit reference to it.''
BY PETER JEAN
06 Jul, 2011
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