Alcohol harm cost us more than twice tax revenue raised

ALCOHOL-related harm cost Australian society more than $14 billion in 2010 - double the amount of revenue collected in tax and excise.

This was the key finding contained in a report compiled by Griffith University researchers, who undertook the study for the Australian Institute of Criminology.

The study's authors say a reasonable proportion of government revenue generated from alcohol taxation be directed to diversion and prevention strategies.

The Commonwealth raised $7 billion in total tax revenue in 2010 from alcohol products through excise and GST revenue.

Matthew Manning, a co-author of The Societal Costs Of Alcohol Misuse In Australia, said the paper built on a series of costings carried out over the past decade by David Collins and Helen Lapsley and showed the extent of damage that alcohol caused to the economy.

Of the $14.352 billion estimate, $6.046 billion involved costs to Australian productivity, $3.662 billion were costs associated with traffic accidents, $2.9 billion comprised costs to the criminal justice system and $1.686 billion represented costs to the health system.

Dr Manning made the point the total did not incorporate the negative impacts on others - estimated at more than $6 billion - associated with someone else's drinking.

Productivity losses, which accounted for almost half of the total cost, were calculated as the sum of reduced workforce and household labour due to premature death, reduced household labour due to sickness and reduced workforce participation due to absenteeism.

The criminal justice system costs were made up of police (38% of total), child protection and support services (8%), prisons (21%), plus insurance administration (1%), to courts (3%) and other organisations such as detox, counselling and victims services, associated with addressing violence (29%).


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