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Thursday, 13 September 2007
Page: 41


Mr SNOWDON (11:45 AM) —I will finish on this point. In terms of the supply side measures, are you looking at any prospect of levies on alcohol? The reason I ask that question is that the research tells us that price and the type of alcohol are primary determining factors in alcohol consumption. If you increase the price of certain types of alcohol, you can drastically reduce alcohol consumption overall. If you limit certain products on the market—for example, two-litre cask wine—you can have a dramatic impact on the overall consumption of alcohol as well. I wonder whether or not you are looking at that, because there was a cask wine levy that applied in the Northern Territory. It was very useful in providing resources for remedial measures while, at the same time, increasing the price of alcohol so that the demand for certain products and the consumption levels of those products fell, and people were healthier as a result. That was overturned. There was a constitutional challenge because it was seen that the Northern Territory could not apply such a levy because it was a tax, but it is a levy which the Commonwealth could apply. The other way of doing it, of course, is to have a volumetric tax on alcohol. I have tried to push that around this place for a number of years. No-one takes me too seriously because the wine industry would go berserk, but there are other ways of doing it. An industry levy of some description might be useful.