By Amy Looker
A new report on the costs of alcohol misuse released by the Australian Institute of Criminology (AIC) is based on flawed research, according to two leading industry associations.
Both the Australian Liquor Stores Association (ALSA) and the Australian Hotels Association (AHA) have fired back in response to the AIC study released earlier this week, which ALSA and AHA say is an update of the 2008 Collins & Lapsley report that has since been discredited by leading international economist, Dr. Eric Crampton.
Crampton’s critique of the Collins & Lapsley methodology found that the estimated $15 billion social cost of alcohol misuse per annum was grossly overstated and estimated the real cost to be no more than around $3.8 billion per annum.
According to ALSA’s chief executive, Terry Mott, the AIC report states that over $7 billion of consumers’ money is already collected every year in alcohol taxation, which he says is around double any realistic estimate as quoted by Crampton & Burgess at approximately $3.8 billion.
“The economic cost modelling used in the Collins & Lapsley study were not meaningful, had been shown to be flawed and were not based upon standard economic models,” Mott said.
He added that the focus should remain on creating meaningful debate and developing targeted interventions for high-risk groups, not simply adding another overall tax on all consumers.
“The goal should be to change the behaviours of individuals who drink to get drunk, which is why ALSA also support DrinkWise – a not-for-profit, independent research and social change agency funded by the Australian alcohol industry, that is dedicated to building a safer drinking culture in Australia.”
AHA’s national chief executive officer, Des Crowe, said the hotel industry is also concerned by the AIC’s use of what it describes as “flawed” research.
“There are both costs and benefits of consuming alcohol,” Crowe said.
“Until a more balanced view emerges from the research community that recognises this reality, cost of harm studies should not be used by policy makers to justify further regulation or intervention in the hotel industry.”