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Drink tax could result in increased binge drinking.

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THE HON DR SHARMAN STONE MP Federal Member for Murray Shadow Minister for Environment, Heritage, the Arts and Indigenous Affairs


Monday 28th April 2008

Drink Tax Could Result In Increased Binge Drinking

“The Rudd Government’s move to increase prices of pre-mix drinks to deter teenage binge drinking sounds more like a money raiser than a cure for the problem,” Federal Member for Murray, Dr Sharman Stone said.

“The Labor Government has added an excise to pre-mix drinks, which will increase prices from between 30 cents and $1.30 per drink.”

“Obviously we all want to curb teenage binge drinking, but raising the price of one type of alcohol, the pre-mix drinks, could turn consumers to another type, for example spirits, which is a far more concentrated form of alcohol.”

“Statistics have shown that the steady increase in the price of cigarettes hasn’t stopped young people from smoking,” Dr Stone said.

“The individual has to acknowledge smoking is a health hazard and then try to give up. It is rarely a matter of price being a deterrent.”

“The anti-smoking campaigns which highlight the health dangers of smoking, as well as the introduction of the non-smoking laws in pubs, clubs and restaurants have been far more effective than raising the price of the product. We need the same multi-pronged approach for alcohol.”

“The Rudd Government has predicted that this price increase will add some $2 billion to their revenue. Some of this revenue is intended to be put towards health programs, but Health Minister Nicola Roxson has admitted that the Federal Government plans to pocket the rest.”

“Young girls in particular should be educated about the relationship between Foetal Alcohol Syndrome and drinking while pregnant. This syndrome leads to both intellectual and physical developmental problems.”

“In the USA all alcohol labels carry warnings about this problem. We should have the same labelling in Australia.”

“My Rudd is right to tackle binge drinking, but it needs more than revenue raising,” Sharman Stone said.

Further Media Enquiries: Dr Sharman Stone’s Office - Inga Norgrove 0417 148 110