Alcohol is a risk factor for cancer of the mouth, pharynx, larynx, oesophagus, bowel, liver and breast and has been classified as a group 1 carcinogen (the highest rating for cancer risk factors). Evidence shows a strong link between alcohol price, alcohol consumption levels and alcohol-related harm.
Cancer Council recommends that the formulation of alcohol taxation policy should acknowledge that alcohol is responsible for major harms in our community, including cancer. Increasing the price of alcohol through taxation would be one of the most effective ways to reduce alcohol consumption and associated harms.
Accordingly, Cancer Council recommends:
- The introduction of volumetric-based excise taxes, to be applied to all alcohol products at the stage of production or implementation, together with abolition of the Wine Equalisation Tax.
- Continuation of the current practice of adjusting the alcohol excise and customs duty every six months, with reference to changes in the Consumer Price Index.
- A proportion of alcohol tax revenue allocated for the purpose of recovering the costs of alcohol-related harm and funding education, harm prevention and alcohol treatment programs – i.e. hypothecation.
- Improved access to wholesale and retail alcohol sales data, an essential indicator of consumption levels and patterns, and of the impact of prevention policies and programs.
- Continual monitoring and evaluation of the alcohol taxation system, and research into potential improvements.
- Investigating a public interest case for the introduction of minimum pricing of alcohol.
See the full position statement:
Alcohol Pricing and Taxation Position Statement