Australians Rage So Hard, Their Doctors Want to Tax Boxed Wine

Tina Rivera
(Photo: OBSEV / Shutterstock)

Doctors in Australia believe they have found one of the root causes of alcoholism among underage youth in the country—and it comes in the form of those pesky, oversized boxes of wine.

Also known as "goon bags," boxed wine is an Australian invention that has apparently had such a negative impact on society doctors are now aiming to tax the troubling libation out of existence. The argument is that the large boxes of wine encourage binge drinking, which is a common issue among young people in Australia.

The Royal Australian College of Physicians (RACP) is now pressuring the federal government to tax wine based on its volume rather than value, a change that would raise an estimated $1.3 billion in the first year. In Australia, wine is currently taxed according to its retail price, not volume, which makes large quantities of cheap wine attractive to binge drinkers.
 

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“This is not about stopping people drinking wine, this is about taxing cheap alcohol, which is abused by young people and those who already have problems,” RACP President Nick Talley told The Daily Telegraph.

Talley estimated the cost of alcohol abuse in the country to be $36 billion AUD ($27 billion USD), and an increased tax on boxed wine would dramatically deter people from buying the goon bags. However, one person argued RACP’s proposal would ultimately and unfairly impact low-income drinkers, which is also a legitimate concern.   

RACP is urging the federal government to change the tax on boxed wine from the current Wine Equalization Tax to the tax that applies to low-strength beer, which is based on volume rather than retail price. The tax will hopefully help the government raise money, cut the appeal of cheap wine, and result in less binge drinking. 

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