The People’s Alcohol Action Coalition (PAAC) presented this graph to today’s meeting about alcohol in Alice Springs. It shows that as the wholesale price of alcohol increased (the solid red line) between July 2000 and December 2010, the volume of alcohol consumed per capita by individuals in Central Australia over 15 years of age decreased (the dotted red line). The vertical black lines are the points in time when various alcohol initiatives were introduced. The point at which the lines cross over, with consumption dropping, is the October 2006 introduction of the bundle of measures known as the Liquor Supply Plan.
PAAC has been campaigning for the introduction of a floor price which would tie the minimum price of a standard drink of any alcoholic beverage to that of a standard drink of beer. This would raise the cost of really cheap grog like cask wine, cleanskins and port, but leave beer, spirits and quality wines unaffected. The mechanism would help reduce consumption overall – the NT’s is 40% higher than the national average – and promote a switch away from cheap wine to less harmful beer. It would be a population-wide measure, of the sort that is being introduced in the UK by a conservative government and that is supported by international and national evidence the most effective reform for reducing alcohol consumption.
Source: The graph is from a longitudinal study of the influences on alcohol by the National Drug Research Institute (Curtin University), June 2012.