Tax ’em into sobriety

FEDERAL Health Minister Nicola Roxon has blamed the former Howard Government for the rise in teenage binge drinking.

Nicola uses some pretty inventive logic to suggest the Howard government is solely to blame for the rate of teenager girls drinking rising from 14% to 60%. Not a mention of state liquor laws, lax club administration or poor parenting.

So now she has established the fact that the wonderful, socially aware ALP are fixing an insidious act of the evil conservative government that is killing our babies; while we watch her right hand conjuring up this image we fail to notice her left hand dropping a new tax on us.

She has come up with a plan to halt binge drinking, a problem amongst kids, that is supposedly rocking the country. I haven’t seen any good stats yet that back that up only anecdotal evidence but lets take it as a given.

The plan? Excise has been almost doubled from $39 to $67 per litre for RDT (ready to drink) products with one paper suggesting that will up the price of a bottle by a dollar. Queensland pubs and clubs currently charge, on average, about $8 per bottle but they can range from $5 specials to $12 rip offs.

So, there are two factors to consider here.

First. The pubs may or may not throw the rise straight back at kids buying RDTs. They could absorb the excise rise elsewhere in the inventory if they feel it to their advantage to keep the premixes cheap.
Even if they simply put up costs by a dollar a drink I can’t see that guaranteeing kids will stop buying them.

So it may or may not work but based on my experience it won’t work. If price was the determining factor I would have stopped drinking when a pot went from .30 cents to 45

Second and most important. The government will make a couple of billion dollars from the hike.

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