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Policy options to redress excessive alcohol consumption

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Date Published:
23 Jan 2012
Contact person:
Erin O'Loughlin
02 9385 0124

Success in reducing alcohol consumption and related harms is likely to lie in the integration of multiple policies, rather than reliance on individual, uncoordinated approaches.

This is the recommendation in a new report by DPMP researchers Dr Jenny Chalmers and Dr Natacha Carragher, called What are the options? Pricing and taxation policy reforms to redress excessive alcohol consumption and related harms in Australia.

In the report, published January 2012 by the NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research, Dr Chalmers and Dr Carragher review four strategies used by governments around the world to reduce alcohol consumption and harm:

  1. Increasing taxes on all alcoholic beverages
  2. Increasing taxes on specific alcoholic beverages, eg. the alco-pop tax
  3. Introducing minimum pricing, that is putting a floor on alcohol prices to prevent deep discounting and below-cost sales; and
  4. A ban on price discounts and promotions such as “happy hours” and “two for one” offers.


The 80 page report includes coverage of the alcohol industry's response to such initiatives thus far. It also examines the role of public opinion in influencing alcohol policy and whether changes to alcohol policy are likely to see individuals switch to consuming other substances.

With its assessment of each policy's effectiveness, this document will prove most useful for policymakers. It will also be of interest to those working in the alcohol sector.

To download the full document, see the attachment below. You can also access it via BOSCAR's website.