The Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education (FARE)’s Pre-Budget submission 2017-18 to Treasury outlines broad support for alcohol tax reform, and proposes reforms that will enable meaningful policy interventions to reduce rates of alcohol harm, including better resourcing of interventions to reduce rates of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder, eliminating harmful alcohol messaging in sport, and providing additional resources for better coordination between alcohol and other drug and family violence services.
FARE’s 2017 tax proposal:
- Prioritise children to reduce the burden placed on them by the drinking of others and establish healthy attitudes to alcohol.
- Phase out alcohol sponsorship of sporting and cultural events, facilitating adjustment through an Alcohol Sponsorship Replacement Fund of $100 million over four years.
- Work with states and territories on programs to reduce family and domestic violence. This should include:
- funding states and territories to develop jurisdiction-specific models of care for Alcohol and Other Drug (AOD) and family violence services to work collaboratively ($1.6 million over one year)
- supporting Alcohol and Other Drug (AOD) services to implement family-centred practice ($24 million over four years)
- Protect children from being born with a preventable lifelong disability by:
- establishing a $10 million national public awareness campaign over four years to raise awareness of the risks of drinking alcohol during pregnancy
- continuing to fund the Women Want to Know program with $1 million over four years to ensure women are being provided with the best advice about the risks of alcohol consumption during pregnancy.
- Fund these measures by reforming the alcohol taxation system, saving $2.9 billion annually and reducing consumption by 9.4 per cent. Phased reform of the alcohol tax system should include:
- transitioning to a volumetric system and discontinuing the Wine Equalisation Tax (WET) rebate
- introducing a differentiated rate for wine, consistent with other alcohol products
- increasing excise rates on all alcohol products by a minimum of ten per cent
- indexing alcohol excise rates to average weekly ordinary time earnings, rather than the Consumer Price Index, to ensure that the cost of alcohol does not reduce relative to personal income.