Alcohol Policy Reform In Australia, Essay

1890 words - 8 pages

The “Alcohol policy reform in Australia: What can we learn from the evidence?” is a scholarly article presented in the Medical Journal of Australia. The article’s main intention is to analyze the World Health Organisation policy target areas, and research by Cobiac and colleagues which I’ll refer to as the ‘Cobiac Report’, and how these measures would effective, in relation to the government new ‘Alco-pops’ tax. The report was published in 2009 by the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre, University of New South Wales.

The report argues that the recommendations by the World Health Organisation and Cobiac would be an effective policy reform to reduce alcohol related harm in Australia. The report is outlines that the most effective way to reduce alcohol related harm would be (in order of effectiveness)
“volumetric taxation (ie, equalising alcohol excise rates according to alcohol content), advertising controls, mass media campaigns, brief intervention by primary care practitioners, residential treatment for alcohol dependence, licensing controls, increasing the minimum legal drinking age to 21 years, and random breath testing (RBT).”

The report outlines the lack of quality data on alcohol and its related harm is an immediate issue, when considering adopting legislation. The report’s focus is the effectiveness of the outlined arguments, whilst considering the cost effectiveness of the implementation of the policies. The reports running theme is that the policies have to implemented together, or in the broad context of social reform in relation to drinking. It is unreasonable for any of the arguments to be reasonably sound as standalone arguments, or when the policies are implemented without further alcohol education. It suggests that mass ad campaigns would have to run along side to create social reform - rather than just policy reform, whichwould seen more as a burden on alcoholic drinkers in Australia. The report emphasizes this through out and must be considered when considereding the soundness and the strength of the arguments.

The article argues four main policy areas; volumetric taxation (such as the “alco-pops” tax), raising the drinking age to 21, licensing laws and Random Breath Testing (RBT). The report takes into consideration cost effectiveness and general effectiviness.

The first argument is volumetric taxation, which claims that Governments can and should take action to reduce the burden and costs of alcohol. The evidence is that Alcohol is contributing to the burden of disease in Australia. The warrant for the argument is taxation will lead to less people purchasing alcohol. The article believes this backed World Health Organisation and the Cobiac Report.

According a UQ research project the new tax increased the cost of RTD products in Australia from $39.36 to $66.67 per litre of pure alcohol, which aims to reduce demand for RTD products in the targeted youth segment.

Volumetric taxation is a simple,...

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