The Government’s love affair with hiking the price of booze every time national binge drinking becomes a problem is apparently in line to continue under a reported new plan being considered by Federal and State officials. And it’s a plan that could see the price of the humble goon bag shoot to the freakin’ moon.
State and Federal ministers released a draft plan that, if implemented, would prevent the price of alcohol from falling below a certain level, in a bid to make booze more expensive and therefore, so their logic goes, curb binge drinking habits.
Under the plan, a price base of roughly $1.50 per standard drink would apply to all alcohol sales. This would see a slab of Victoria Bitter, for example, rise from around $47 to over $50. A similar price rise would be expected for bottles of wine, with a $7 bottle becoming a slightly-over-$10 bottle in that scenario.
But it’s the goon bag – the humble battler of Australian grog – that would be hit the absolute hardest. Under a $1.50 per standard drink base price system, a four-litre cask of white wine that right now retails for around $10 would increase in price up to a staggering $45 minimum, due to the fact that the container carries around 30 standard drinks.
The draft plan also proposes one flat taxation rate for alcohol, rather than the myriad of different tax rates for beer, wine, and spirits that currently exists. That flat tax would impact wine drinkers the hardest, given that wine is currently the least taxed of the three booze groups.
The draft also includes a number of different proposed measures, including restrictions on alcohol advertising during sporting events, linked ID scanners at venues to prevent repeat offenders from entering licensed premises, asking alcohol companies to put “readable, impactful health-related warning labels” on products, and undercover checks on bottle-os to ensure underage kids aren’t being sold booze.
For what it’s worth, Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt distanced himself from the plan last night, with a spokesperson for his office suggesting that the onus would be on the States to implement some or all of the draft plan’s proposals.
Still, $45+ for a shiny sack of cheap wine? That’s about as un-Australian as it gets, really.
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Image: Getty Images / Mark Kolbe