The Alcohol Policy Coalition congratulates Health Minister Nicola Roxon on her move to develop a national minimum price on alcohol, a move the APC says will reduce consumption amongst hazardous drinkers without penalising moderate drinkers.
APC spokesperson Geoff Munro says research shows that minimum pricing together with an effective alcohol taxation system is one of the most effective means to change Australia's harmful drinking culture.
"Coupling minimum price with tax reform will mark 2011 as the year the Federal Government got serious about fixing the nation's $15 billion dollar alcohol problem. These moves are something we know the community supports," Mr Munro said.
Every week, alcohol kills more than 60 Australians and puts another 1,500 people in hospital.
"Minimum pricing is a good start but to make serious changes to Australia's drinking culture it must be paired with a new tax system based on alcoholic content. Two-thirds of people agree that a volumetric tax system is the way to go," Mr Munro added.
"Alcohol is no ordinary commodity and we can't continue to allow retailers to sell it like bread or milk. It is a product responsible for addiction, illness, violence, accidents and death.
"The evidence shows that a price increase of 10 per cent will see about a 5 per cent reduction in consumption, resulting in a significant decrease in the number of Australians harmed or suffering chronic disease from alcohol.
"Minimum pricing would discourage harmful drinkers from just shifting to other cheap products that offset price increases elsewhere.
"As the Australian Government will review the taxation system in October, it is a perfect opportunity to tax drinks based on alcohol content with a higher price for more harmful products."
The APC suggests a share of tax from alcohol should be allocated to prevention and health promotion/education programs targeting drinkers.