OPINION: New liquor laws could be hard to swallow

Intoxicating Issue: The WA Alcohol and Youth Action Coalition are continuing to push the state government to introduce a minimum floor price for alcohol. Photo: Shutterstock.
Intoxicating Issue: The WA Alcohol and Youth Action Coalition are continuing to push the state government to introduce a minimum floor price for alcohol. Photo: Shutterstock.

Most Aussies love a cheeky beverage every now and then.

Do you know what we love more?

Bargain-basement prices on booze.

But it’s no secret that on many occasions, our alcohol consumption is out of control.

Statistics from 2016 show that Western Australians 15 years and older consume an average of 11.9 litres of alcohol a year.

Almost double the global average.

Unfortunately our intoxicating obsession places a massive strain on vital community sectors.

Time and time again, local police and paramedics express their frustrations at the continuous need for services to attend to and help, save or diffuse alcohol-induced situations.

This week, I reported on the renewed push from the WA Alcohol and Youth Coalition to implement a minimum floor price for alcohol across the state.

The initiative would set a minimum dollar amount per standard drink below which products cannot be sold and prevent retailers selling cheap drinks.

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The booze battle is not a new issue, but health experts and community organisations are constantly working to come up with new ideas to combat anti-social behaviour and harm as a result of alcohol abuse.

Hundreds of people die in our state every year for reasons attributed to alcohol.

If any of these measures saved just one life, wouldn’t that make them worth it?

I believe any initiative to help those at their most vulnerable, is a good one.

It’s controversial of course. 

Anything that threatens the Aussie grog culture always is.

Alcohol is estimated to cost the WA community over $3 billion per year.

But what would the cost be to retailers expected to implement the no-discount policy?

It’s something I’ll be investigating further over the coming weeks by looking into the effects of a proposed minimum floor price on businesses, the community, economy and health sector.

In the meantime, we can watch the rollout of the new policy in the Northern Territory, which began this month.

To read the full report from the WA Alcohol and Youth Action Coalition, visit the wesbite.

What are your thoughts on tackling alcohol-related harm in the community? To share your opinion get in touch with the Mandurah Mail team via editor.mandurahmail@fairfaxmedia.com.