What are the options? Pricing and taxation policy reforms to redress excessive alcohol consumption and related harms in Australia

24 Jan 2012

Increasing community and political concern about excessive alcohol consumption and related harms in Australia has prompted calls for the introduction of tighter regulatory controls.
From an evidence-based, research perspective, measures which increase alcohol prices and taxes, in particular, are considered most effective for reducing alcohol consumption and related harms. Accordingly, this report presents a review of pricing and taxation policy levers that have been considered and/or implemented nationally and internationally. These policies include: alcohol taxation and differential price by beverage; special/additional taxation on alcopops; minimum pricing; and bans on price discounts and promotions. Industry response to these policy initiatives is discussed, in addition to the role of public opinion in policy-making, and the issue of substitution and complementarity with other drugs. This review is designed to inform policymakers of useful taxation and pricing policy levers to redress alcohol-related harm in the Australian community. We conclude that each policy holds some promise, and it appears that they would be more successful when used in combination than as individual uncoordinated strategies.

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