A hangover from govt's drink tax

WOLLONGBAR Pioneer Tavern manager Sean Kelly says the Federal Government plan to tackle binge drinking by hiking the tax on alcopops has done nothing more than encourage people to buy pure spirits.

In April, the Government increased the tax on pre-mixed drinks by 70 per cent, as part of its efforts to combat binge drinking by young people.

But the tax, which was hotly debated in Federal Parliament yesterday, is likely to be overturned in the Senate as new figures show that sales of spirits have gone up by 21 million standard drinks since the higher tax was imposed.

Mr Kelly supported the call to withdraw the tax, saying it did not solve anything.

“Our sales of pure spirits have gone up,” Mr Kelly said.

“That's a problem because when people mix pure spirits themselves they don't know how many standard drinks they've had.

Binge drinking is a behavioural problem and there needs to be more education.”

The $3.1 billion excise hike needs Senate confirmation by April next year.

Mick O'Connor, licensee of Alstonville's Federal Hotel, said he would prefer to see a standard price per alcohol volume put on drinks, and high-range alcohol volume drinks banned.

Meanwhile, the NSW director of Liquor and Gaming, Albert Gardner, will today meet police and council representatives from Byron Bay and Tweed Heads to discuss how new liquor laws can help address local alcohol-related problems.



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