HIGHER taxes on beer and wine will push problem drinkers into buying bottles of spirits according to one Orange liquor retailer.
The latest poll by The Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education, released yesterday, revealed the majority of Australians believed alcohol was a problem in Australia.
Most people surveyed supported health warning labels on alcohol products and a ban on alcohol advertising during sporting matches, while 39 per cent said they would vote to increase tax to pay for health, education and treatment of alcohol problems.
Kelly’s Rugby Hotel manager Mark Kelly said the alcopops tax introduced in 2008 did nothing to curb binge drinking, but made the situation worse, and another tax would have the same effect.
“The alcopops tax was complete nonsense,” he said.
“Instead of buying a carton of cruisers at one standard drink each, young people would buy a couple of bottles of straight vodka for the same price.”
Mr Kelly said people were less likely to monitor their standard drinks when pouring straight from the bottle.
“At least with a cruiser you know one cruiser is one standard drink. Who knows how much they’ve had if somebody else is pouring them drinks from the bottle,” he said.
Mr Kelly said people were unaware that the tax on alcohol increased twice per year regardless.
“The people calling for a tax increase literally don’t know that the government is doing it,” he said.
Orange councillor Neil Jones says he does not support alcohol sponsorship at sporting events and does not think an increase in tax will stop people from buying alcohol.
“I don’t know if it is proven that an increase in tax will reduce expenditure,” he said.
“People will go without something in order to buy their alcohol.”
Cr Jones said most taxes were seen as a revenue raisers for the government.
“I don’t support a tax for those purposes but I do support a tax if it will go to health, education and the treatment of alcohol problems,” he said.
Orange will soon have 10 bottle shops when ALDI begins to sell alcohol in September.