The Northern Territory Government has passed laws that will see minimum unit pricing (MUP) introduced in the territory from 1 October.
Although the specific terms of the legislation have not yet been released, the NT Government has previously said it plans to set the MUP at $1.30. That price means that a bottle of white wine at 12.5 per cent ABV, which contains 7.4 standard drinks will cost a minimum of $9.62, while a bottle of red at 14 per cent ABV and with 8.3 standard drinks will cost at least $10.79.
TheShout understands that the legislation has bi-partisan support and that the industry is now beginning to work with the NT Government to ensure that the implementation of the legislation on 1 October is as smooth as possible for all those impacted.
The MUP was one of the measures introduced as part of the Northern Territory Alcohol Harm Minimisation Plan 2018-19, coming from last year’s Riley Review.
Speaking to TheShout earlier this year, Fergus Taylor, Executive Director of Alcohol Beverages Australia, said that the industry supports the majority of recommendations made to the NT Government as part of its Riley Review, but added that MUP does not change habits of harmful drinkers and unfairly punishes responsible drinkers.
“Broad based consumption measures like minimum unit pricing punish responsible drinkers with big price increases but do not effectively target harmful drinkers because they are the least responsive to price rises,” Taylor told TheShout in February.
The NT’s Attorney-General, Natasha Fyles, said that by early next year retail and wholesale data will be collected by the Government, which she said will enable the policy to be reviewed after three years, and will also ensure retailers were complying with the legislation.
Independent MLA, Robyn Lambley told the ABC that bringing in the MUP was an attempt at “social control” by the NT’s Labor Government.
“I believe in a minimal government, minimal government intervention,” Lambley told the ABC.
“I don’t believe in social control and this is a great example of a policy, of a government policy that is intended to control all of us and how we drink.
“It’s welcome to the nanny state, because an introduction to an alcohol floor price will achieve nothing and yet affect every person over the age of 18 years who decides to have a drink and usually most often drink responsibly.”
The Riley Review was delivered to the Government in October last year and the NT A-G Fyles said the Government was giving in-principle support to consider implementing all but one recommendation around a total ban on the trade of take away alcohol on Sunday. This MUP move will also see a huge change to the pricing of cask wine, with a two-litre cask soon to cost a minimum of $27.30.