In case you thought the threat to the Riverland region from volumetric tax had abated, think again. While preparing this report another ‘story’ appeared in the press alleging the supposedly unfair nature of the current tax system. On the anti-alcohol website ‘The Conversation’ there is a report calling for the end of cheap wine casks. Once again, this story cherry-picks evidence to suit the cause. It quotes the cost of alcohol damage to society as “upwards of $15billion per year”; a figure from a 2008 paper that has since been discredited. It also falsely states that “cask wine is popular among the oldest and youngest age groups”, when the Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education (FARE) found that while 28.1% of drinkers over the age of 40 consumed casks; only 3.9% of those surveyed below the age of 40 did.
Also of interest is that the average number of standard drinks consumed by cask drinkers is 1.9 per day – within healthy drinking guidelines.
It is concerning that the viability of our region may be influenced by such ‘policy based evidence’ rather than sound ‘evidence based policy’.