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Rudd Govt should stand up and slash the $16b alcohol toll.



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MEDIA RELEASE Saturday August 8, 2009

RUDD GOVT SHOULD STAND UP AND SLASH THE $16b ALCOHOL TOLL

A new report into liquor sales proves the Rudd government's alcopops tax was just a blatant and useless tax grab, Family First Leader Senator Steve Fielding said.

Despite last year's tax hike alcopop sales are bouncing back with liquor industry analysts Nielsen Liquor Services predicting total drinking will increase.

“This report proves what Family First has been saying all along - that the alcopops tax on its own will do nothing to fix Australia’s binge drinking problem and is a fizzer,” Senator Fielding said.

“For two years Family First has been calling on the federal government to get serious about tackling Australia’s binge drinking problem with tougher advertising restrictions and alcohol warning labels.

“Australia has a huge binge drinking problem costing $16 billion per year which can only be fixed by creating a culture of responsible drinking.

“More than 40 percent of police work is alcohol related.

“The Rudd Government must have the courage to stand up to the alcohol giants and shut down alcohol ads during live sporting events during family viewing times.”

Studies by industry analysts Nielsen Liquor Services have found that the higher prices for pre-mixed alcoholic beverages initially cut their consumption but significantly boosted sales of spirits and beer.

Nielsen’s data now shows that alcopop sales are bouncing back, with the sector growing 12 percent in the three months to the end of June.

“A tax grab will not change our culture of binge drinking. This government must do more by refusing to allow alcohol to get its hooks into vulnerable young people," Senator Fielding said.

The Senate is due to give final approval to the controversial 70 per cent excise increase, sold as a health move by the government, on Wednesday.

For media enquiries contact Kane Silom 0409 550 446

www.stevefielding.com.au