CANBERRA, April 3 (Xinhua) -- The Australian government has been urged to consider making changes to its alcohol tax and regulation system, under which alcohol could be sold at petrol stations, supermarkets and small convenience stores.
According to a cross-party Senate committee, led by Liberal Democrat Senator David Leyonhjelm, a single, uniform volumetric tax could halve the tax on more expensive, artisan bottles of gin, vodka and other spirits, while simultaneously increasing the tax on cheaper, readily-attainable "goons" or cask wines.
Leyonhjelm said moving to a single, uniform tax system would not only alleviate confusion, but raise the taxes - up to tenfold - on 'problem drinks' such as cask wine.
"Alcohol taxation in Australia is anything but logical. It's a very confused regulatory environment," Leyonhjelm told Fairfax Media over the weekend.
He added that Australia's drinking culture had moved away from the times of binge drinking to get drunk, and said drinkers needed to start being treated like adults when it comes to alcohol taxation.
"The level of alcohol consumption is actually going down in Australia. There is a lot less binge drinking," Leyonhjelm said.
"There's no reason to believe that just because it's available in more locations that people will drink more."
The government has previously admitted the current taxation system is "complex", while Australian Tax Office deputy commissioner Tim Dyce said while it might benefit buyers of high-end alcohols, those buying mid-range wines might end up paying more.
"We might all drink more Grange because it would come down in price, but something else, a lower priced wine with the same amount of alcohol, might potentially go up in price," Dyce said.
Under other changes proposed by the committee, alcohol would be available for purchase at petrol stations and supermarkets as they are currently only available at dedicated 'bottle shops'.