Liquor retailers on the Far North Coast overwhelmingly believe the Federal Government’s controversial ‘alcopop’ tax trial is a complete failure and – rather than reduce alcohol consumption – has merely encouraged residents to turn to other forms of alcohol.

This is according to a survey of 15 local bottle shop owners and managers which gauged their attitudes to, and the implications of, the 70% tax hike on Ready-to-Drink (RTD) alcohol products introduced by the Federal Government in April.

The survey, commissioned by the Distilled Spirits Industry Council of Australia (DSICA), revealed strong opposition to the tax from local liquor retailers:

  • 87% believe the tax has failed to reduce alcohol consumption (among its customers) and will continue to be a failure in the long-term;
  • 80% report that the majority of RTD drinkers are now buying other forms of alcohol as a result of the tax;
  • 100% believe the majority of their customers consider the tax to be an unwarranted tax grab;
  • 67% of their customers have an unfavourable view of the RTD tax increase.

“I don’t think the tax has got anything to do with binge drinking. It’s just a money grab. Changing the price of one particular item will not change people’s drinking habits,” was the comment made by one of the retailers about the RTD tax trial on the Far North Coast.

According to Stephen Riden, Information and Research Manager for DSICA, liquor retailers on the Far North Coast are at the front line of the alcohol debate and have seen first-hand the fallout from the tax grab on pre-mixed drinks.

“Bottleshop operators have clearly identified the trend of their customers to substitute RTDs with other forms of alcohol, where they can easily lose track of how much alcohol they are consuming,” Mr Riden said.

“Liquor retailers are concerned about the responsible sale of alcohol and they support the fact that RTDs contain a measured and known quantity of alcohol in each can or bottle.

“These important findings will be shared with the Government to further demonstrate the unintended consequences of this tax hike on just one type of alcohol product.

“DSICA is working productively with Government MPs, the independent Senators, the Greens and health and community organisations to develop a sustainable, long-term solution to alcohol abuse in our community.”

The research was conducted on behalf of DSICA by independent researchers EMRS amongst 15 randomly selected liquor retail outlets on the Far North Coast.

For more information on the RTD tax trial, visit: