Doctors welcome floor price for alcohol in NT


The Royal Australasian College of Physicians (RACP) welcomes the Northern Territory Government’s move to set a floor price on alcohol.

The policy will set a price per unit of alcohol and is designed to target cheap alcohol like cask wine.

“The Northern Territory Government has considered the evidence and it’s taking bold action to reduce the availability of cheap alcohol and alcohol-related harm,” said Dr Rob Tait, chair of the RACP NT Regional Committee and specialist paediatrician at Royal Darwin Hospital.

“There is a large body of evidence demonstrating a strong and direct relationship between price, consumption and related harms.  A floor price lifts the price of cheap alcohol, while having a limited effect on the price of other alcoholic drinks that are more expensive.

“Minimum prices will also restrict the liquor industry from pricing promotions such as the ‘buy-one-get-one-free’ promotions.

“High risk drinkers and young people tend to buy the cheapest alcohol because of its availability. We think a floor price will reduce consumption among risky drinkers and will ultimately save lives.” 

In a survey of 2,020 Australians in 2013, heavy drinkers were nearly twice as likely to buy cheap alcohol as moderate drinkers.  Cask wine is a key driver of this, with respondents reportedly spending an average of A$0.65 per standard drink for cask wine, while average prices were higher than A$1.30 for other kinds of drinks.

The RACP has supported minimum pricing of alcohol in numerous submissions to governments and in its 2016 Alcohol Policy.

The Policy focuses on the need for a comprehensive, evidence-based and national approach to combating the harms of alcohol, including measures to prevent the industry promoting alcohol to children and adolescents; reduce the availability of alcohol through measures to restrict outlet density and trading hours; and ensure access to effective treatment services.

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