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Alcohol policy coalition urges senate to pass bill

Tuesday 17 March, 2009

A Coalition of concerned health agencies today urged the Senate to pass the "alcopops bill".

"The Senate must ensure that alcopops are not sold at pocket money prices," said the Alcohol Policy Coalition spokesperson and Australian Drug Foundation's Head of Policy, Geoff Munro.

Mr Munro said the alcopops tax offered the opportunity to reduce the attraction of alcohol to children and adolescents and he urged the Senate to pass the bill today.

Coalition member and CEO of VicHealth Todd Harper supported this view.

"A majority of the Senate have spoken in favour of a range of tax measures and programs to reduce alcohol harms so it is frustrating that they have not been able to reach agreement," Mr Harper said.

"We urge the Senate to set aside their differences and recognise there is much agreement between the senators.

"It would be a major blow to the health of Australians and a victory to the spirits industry if the bill is not passed.

"We must not reward the spirits industry for producing high strength, high sugar alcohol products that taste like soft drinks, are marketed like soft drinks, and sold at pocket money prices," Mr Harper added.

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