WA Government Investigates Alcohol Floor Price Plan

By Kelly Marie Smith

In an effort to curb alcohol abuse in Western Australia, the state government is looking at the possibility to impose a minimum price on alcoholic beverages.

The idea hopes to stop retailers selling bargain priced alcohol to heavy drinkers, has been set in motion by WA Health minister Roger Cook.

Mr Cook, along with other experts, believe this reduce both alcohol related health problems and crimes in WA.

Steve Allsop, professor from the National Drug Research Institute believes it’s going to impact those who abuse alcohol the most.

“The people who are most susceptible to this will be the heaviest drinkers in our community, and the youngest drinkers in our community. But for the rest of us, it won’t make much difference, if any,” he said.

Right now, retailers such as Aldi have dramatically lowered the priced of alcohol selling some bottles of wine at $2.69. By installing a floor price, there will be a minimum that retailers can sell alcoholic drinks at.

Not all retailers believe it will have an impact, Josh Daley from Mane Liquor, says that while it won’t impact his sales being a boutique retailer.

However, he supports the deterrence of alcohol abuse that it will hopefully bring.

“Unfortunately when you are selling alcohol thats cheaper than water, it has a big effect on the community. Its cheaper to get a carton of wine then it is to take a carton of water home,” Mr Daley said.

It is believed by experts that this will have a direct impact on not only heavy drinkers, but also bystanders and the public, through reduced alcohol fuelled violence, hospitalisations and long term health issues.

Already WA opposition has labelled the idea as ignorant, saying we have no need in WA for a minimum floor price.

Liberal Democrats WA Upper house MP Aaron Storehouse, thinks the idea is absurd.

“Young people are drinking much less now than they have, as they focus on things like fitness and healthy living. To believe this will achieve its intended effect, is a bit of a stretch,” he said.

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