Territory Stories

Debates Day 2 - Wednesday 17 May 1995



Debates Day 2 - Wednesday 17 May 1995

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Parliamentary Record 10


Debates for 7th Assembly 1994 - 1997; ParliamentNT; Parliamentary Record; 7th Assembly 1994 - 1997




Made available by the Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory





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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory

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Attribution International 4.0 (CC BY 4.0)

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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory



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DEBATES - Wednesday 17 May 1995 I would like to quote one more area on which the ADCA has rated the different states and territories. I refer to its government performance survey. Representatives of the council spoke to key informants, as they called them, across the states and territories - people working at the coalface who have actually to deal with this problem on a day-to-day basis. I admit that no one jurisdiction was given exactly huge amounts of praise, but the Northern Territorys approach again stood out above and beyond what all the states were doing. The ADCA did not speak to a group of politicians, but to people at the coalface who rated the Northern Territory way ahead of the other states and territories. In fact, if we used the zero measure as the benchmark on this particular table, the Territory was shown a t-0.03. The next best was Western Australia at -0.43. Members on both sides of this Chamber can stand up and argue about whether we are doing a good job or a bad job, but the people at the coalface have stated their case Australia-wide, and it is said that the Northern Territorys approach is streets ahead of what the other states and territories are doing. Of course, the opposition would be very quiet about that because it is very hard to criticise the opinion of people who are dealing with this problem on a day-to-day basis. Their verdict is overwhelming. In many ways, this problem relates to cask wine which accounts for over 60% of all wine sales in Australia. It does not take an Einstein to realise that many of the problems we face in respect of antisocial behaviour are caused by the abuse of alcohol and, in particular, cask wine. In the past, one of the problems with imposing a levy or a tax on wine, or any alcoholic beverage for that matter, has been that, in percentage terms, the cheaper the alcohol, the cheaper the tax. This is one particular case where I believe we should be a user-pays society. If you abuse the system and if you abuse a product, you should pay, and you should pay proportionately. At the moment, that does not happen. For example, a person purchasing 4 L of premium wine at present would pay roughly $10 in tax Australia-wide. However, for 4 L of a nice el cheapo cask wine, they will be paying less than $2 in tax. If we are looking at alcohol support services to set up some type of safety net for people who abuse the system, surely a $2 safety net is not big enough in this case. I believe the proposed levy is appropriate. It will allow hopefully for those who are falling through the safety net at the moment to be caught a little more effectively than they have been in the past. I do not consider the levy to be unreasonable. While it will affect some people who do not abuse the system, I believe that, in the long term, it is a wise and prudent measure to introduce. Let us consider the beverages that people prefer to use and why attacking cask wine is an important way to go. A large number of surveys have been undertaken of what people prefer to drink. It is probably not surprising that, if people had a choice, they would drink spirits. However, because of cost considerations etc, quite often people do not have the opportunity to drink spirits. Surveys have shown that, while 28% of males may prefer to drink spirits, only 15% do so. What becomes the alcohol of choice is either beer or cask wine. That is right across the board ... Mrs Padgham-Purich: Depending on their ethnic origin. Mr ADAMSON: This survey touched on those areas as well. However, this is a broader measure that will be a step in the right direction. Beer and cask wines are the most preferred alcoholic drinks. I believe that targeting cask wine is something that we can live with 3226