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Tackling Child Alcohol Problems Involves Community

Tackling Child Alcohol Problems Involves Community Commitment

Kids will drink sherry if it’s cheaper by volume than other alcohols, Associate Health Minister and Progressive leader, Jim Anderton, said today.

“This is the experience overseas and there is no reason to doubt it wouldn’t happen here. Young people’s purchase of alcohol is price sensitive and the government's decision to ensure that beverages with alcohol content over 14 per cent are all more expensive will make it less accessible to them," Jim Anderton said.

The Progressive leader reiterated that the coalition government won't go soft on tackling this country's serious youth alcohol problems.

He was responding to comments by producers of sherry and port who opposed the decision earlier in the year to raise the excise on alcoholic beverages containing between 14% and 23% alcohol by volume - because it is bad for their businesses.

"It is bad for our communities and bad for our society if we don't take serious steps to address the problems of underage drinking.

"We all know that, as a society, it is bad for all of us when we read in our newspapers that the extent of our alcohol problems includes nine-year-olds wandering around the center of our cities in a drunken state," Jim Anderton said.

“We are also concerned to prevent alcohol abuse by adults as it places huge costs on our health system. Recent increases in price will not restrict someone who buys a bottle of sherry once every six months. If, however, someone is drinking a bottle of sherry every few days they will notice the difference and so they should.

“This coalition government has ensured that all alcohol content by volume of over 14 per cent is now taxed at the same high rate. Light spirits and sherry are now taxed at the same rate as spirits over 23 per cent proof.

“Already, so-called ‘light’ spirits that sold for as little as $7.95 for a 1.125 litre bottle have had their alcohol content nearly halved from 23 per cent alcohol by volume to 13.9 per cent,” he noted.

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