By Andrew Starke
AHA National CEO Des Crowe told TheShout he shared the concerns of winemakers who would suffer a disproportionate impact if the option of an alcohol floor price was introduced nationally.
“We have relied on a diverse wine industry to deliver a great range of wines to our customers,” he said.
”In addition wineries are major tourist attractions throughout regional Australia and are the life blood of many small towns, communities and regions around Australia.”
”Many hotels rely on wine tourism as a key part of their trade and we cannot allow the regions of Barossa, Hunter Valley, Margaret River, Yarra Valley and others across the country to be destroyed by excessive regulation.”
The AHA National Executive will discuss the concept of floor pricing at its next meeting with a view to developing a national position that will form the basis of its input to the National Preventative Health Agency once it begins its industry consultations.
“Alcohol floor pricing is just one of many possible regulations that could be introduced by the Federal Government that would impact upon alcohol pricing,” said Crowe. “It cannot be considered in isolation.”
The AHA has taken the position that the introduction of a carbon tax will inevitably cause alcohol prices to increase.
”The severity of this increase will not be known until the terms of the carbon tax are finalized,” said Crowe.
“What is certain is that the AHA must ensure that the valuable Australian wine industry is not regulated out of existence.”
However Senator Rachel Siewert, Australian Greens spokesperson on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Issues, believes the Federal Government should act where State Governments have refused to budge.
“Better controls of liquor licences, an alcohol floor price and a minimum price per alcohol unit are all important measures which need to be given serious consideration,” she said.
“The Menzies School of Health Research has shown that alcohol related harm in the Northern Territory is more than four times the national average. Access to alcohol is one of the prime issues we need to be addressing.
“Clearly, action is needed in the Northern Territory. The time has come for the Federal Government to stand up to the alcohol industry.”