Northern Territory set for Alcohol price rise

Wine price up in Northern Territory
Photo: By Geoffrey Fairchild - Flickr: wine, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

For years the Northern Territory has been the home of cheap booze but that tag won’t be around for much longer with wine set to be more expensive than water as prices triple.

The Northern Territory has become the first Australian state or territory to introduce a minimum on the price of alcohol. It signals the end of water being more expensive than wine in the nation’s top end.

The new legislation comes in response to a report outlining the high levels of alcohol related violence in the Northern Territory. Earlier this week the NT government released its report finings showing that there was in fact an alcohol abuse crisis in the Territory.

Attorney-General Natasha Fyles said that she had strong support for the introduction of legislation that would see a minimum price placed on alcohol drinks in order to reduce the problems associated with heavily discounted wines.

The move is likely to see huge price hike, in particular with the cheap wines, which would see a bottom-end variety such as a 2L cask be raised from $10 to $27.30.

The legislation is said to come into play on July 1 with the minimum floor price to be $1.30 for a standard drink which Ms Fyles said would put the cheapest bottle of wine at $9.

Currently, the cheapest bottle of wine that can be found in Darwin sells for about $5 and a standard bottle of wine contains seven standard drinks.

The price rise is set to target those at the lower end of the spectrum including poorer individuals and problem drinkers who appear to be the biggest offenders of alcohol fuelled abuse. The legislation wont impact on beer drinkers with regular beer not expected to be impacted. However, discounted varieties may be impacted.

Ms Fyles said that the moves had the support of voters saying that “Territorians want and deserve safe communities” and that they had stuck by their word in taking an “evidence-based approach” to the investigation”.

From the report, 219 of the 220 recommendations are set to be implemented with 186 of those to be executed in full whilst the remaining recommendations will be implemented as necessary.

The report found that the Northern Territory had the highest rate of alcohol consumption per capita in Australia and one of the highest in the world. The Northern Territory also has the highest rates of alcohol-related crime, abuse and deaths which amount to a total of 640 million tax payer dollars.