Experts Say Lifting Alcohol Price not the Solution

 In Blog

By now we’ve all become aware of the concern around alcohol fuelled violence in Oz and many of the “solutions” put forward by interest groups to fight the disturbing, growing trend but experts have warned that lifting the alcohol price is not going to be a successful solution.

According to certain public health experts, higher prices for alcohol will not necessarily curb binge drinking because these drinkers commonly drink little or nothing on some days so they can binge drink on the weekend – this is when they become a menace.

Research on the drinking patterns in Oz also shows the “polarisation” of Aussie drinking habits, in other words the heaviest drinkers are beginning to drink more while those who only drink lightly and consuming even less. There are also more people abstaining from alcohol completely, yet we aren’t experiencing any decline in alcohol fuelled violence.

That is why some experts fear that the calls to increase the price of alcohol will have little or no effect.

In fact a recent global survey showed that buying alcohol in Australia is more expensive than most other countries. The following excerpt from an article on explains:

But global data shows that, far from being cheap, Australia is one of the most expensive countries to buy alcohol. Of more than 190 countries, discount beer in Australia is the second most expensive and spirits the seventh most expensive. Table wine in Australia is the second most expensive of the OECD countries.

But while price can influence consumption – the cheaper the alcohol, the more people drink – the effect on high-intensity consumption is less clear.

“When you use a blunt instrument like taxation that affects everyone, it doesn’t necessarily affect everyone evenly,” said Griffith University health economist Josh Byrnes.


According to researchers at the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre binge drinkers in this country tend to simply adjust their buying patterns rather than adjust their behaviour when prices are increased. Lead researcher Dr Byrnes and Anthony Shakeshaft, as prices increase, heavy drinkers just have more days when they drink less and save their money to binge drink on the weekend. They go on to explain:

“[Binge drinking] is people’s preferred way of drinking, so they’re going to use the money they spend on alcohol in a way that fits in with their preferred pattern,” said Professor Shakeshaft. “If the price goes up and people have less money to spend on alcohol, they’re not going to change their drinking behaviour, they’ll just find ways to maintain that behaviour.”


From the research that has emerged it is obvious that the problem we now need to address is binge drinking because it is contributing to many other problems – this emphasises the importance of Responsible Service of Alcohol.

Never before has it been so important to enforce responsible service of alcohol laws. In order for this to be accomplished licensees need to ensure that all their employees at the licensed venue have completed RSA training and are enforcing the rules on the job. To learn more about the RSA certificate visit our homepage today!

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