State government continue to mull over minimum alcohol price

Intoxicating Issue: The WA Alcohol and Youth Action Coalition are continuing to push the state government to introduce a minimum floor price for alcohol. Photo: Shutterstock.
Intoxicating Issue: The WA Alcohol and Youth Action Coalition are continuing to push the state government to introduce a minimum floor price for alcohol. Photo: Shutterstock.

Pressure is mounting again on the WA state government to introduce a minimum floor price for alcohol.

A number of health experts and community organisations believe it is the best way to reduce heavy drinking among young people and curb alcohol-related harm.

A floor price would set a minimum dollar amount per standard drink below which alcohol cannot be sold.

The measure would prevent alcohol retailers from selling bargain-basement booze.

Health experts have suggested an appropriate threshold price may be between $1.00 and $1.50 per standard drink, indexed to changes in WA income levels over time.

The effect of a minimum floor price of $1.25 on prices of commonly purchased alcohol products from Dan Murphy's.

The effect of a minimum floor price of $1.25 on prices of commonly purchased alcohol products from Dan Murphy's.

The idea was first flagged by Health Minister Roger Cook in September 2017 to stop retailers selling discounted alcohol to binge drinkers, especially among young people.

But with the introduction of a minimum price for alcohol in the Northern Territory earlier this month, comes a renewed push for WA to follow suit.

After years of advocacy, the NT is the first Australian jurisdiction to implement a floor price with a minimum floor of $1.30 per standard drink now in effect.

Seventy health and community organisations that form the Western Australia Alcohol and Youth Action  Coalition are urging the state government to implement the “important public health initiative”.

The Coalition recently released a report outlining how floor pricing would reduce alcohol-related harms.

The report included alarming statistics on drinking rates among young people in WA.

The Public Health Association Australia (PHAA) joined the Coalition to try and make progress towards reducing health inequities. 

Excessive alcohol consumption is the source of significant health and social harms, particularly among young West Australians.

Excessive alcohol consumption is the source of significant health and social harms, particularly among young West Australians.

PHAA chief executive officer Terry Slevin said cheap alcohol comes at a cost.

“West Australians experience concerning levels of harm from their own and others’ drinking,” he said.

“Minimum pricing could be one of the most important steps forward in WA to prevent and reduce problems linked to heavy drinking.”

Some wine products now sell for as little as 24 cents per standard drink.

Mr Slevin said a major benefit of the minimum alcohol pricing would be a reduction in alcohol-related harm from high-risk groups.

“Minimum pricing only affects the prices of the cheapest alcohol products which are favoured by heavier drinkers and therefore targets the heaviest drinkers across all income groups, while having limited impact on moderate drinkers,” he said.

The report suggests that the community is in strong support of the initiative with 58 per cent of WA adults backing the move.

This story State government continue to mull over minimum alcohol price first appeared on Mandurah Mail.