HEALTH groups have thrown their support behind a proposal to have a volumetric tax on wine.But it was roundly criticised by winemaking and brewing groups.
The tax was proposed by the Australian National Preventive Health Agency, as part of a draft report about reducing the harm associated with alcohol consumption.
Submissions to the report, recently published by the ANHPA, show health groups support tax changes as it would reduce alcohol consumption.
VicHealth supports tax changes, saying alcohol price increases and taxation ``are among some of the most effective alcohol harm reduction strategies.''
``We support the calls from a wide range of organisations and industry members for some form of volumetric tax on all alcohol products.''
In its submission the Alcohol Policy Coalition said it supported a volumetric tax on wine and a minimum price on alcohol to prevent heavy discounting.
However, the Winemakers Federation of Australia argued the ``relationship between alcohol price, consumption and rates of misuse remain areas of contention.''
Murray Valley Winegrowers chief executive Mark McKenzie told The Weekly Times the Federal Government should not consider any changes without looking at the wider impacts on grape-growing communities.
He said the Murray Valley, Riverland and Riverina would bear the brunt of the changes.
He said the impact in the Murray Valley would be the loss of markets for 80,000-100,000 tonnes of fruit or about 30 per cent of the region's production.
``This would immediately reduce vineyard owners farm gate revenue by between $28 million and $35 million across this regions 580 growers," Mr McKenzie said.
He said vineyard values would collapse completely and many growers would not survive the impact of the tax change.