Damn lies and statistics: The demonisation of the alcohol industry
Anti-alcohol campaigners have wildly exaggerated the cost of social damage caused by alcohol to justify punitive taxes and stricter regulation. In fact, the widely circulated claim that alcohol costs the community $36 billion a year appears to have no basis in fact. Such wowsernomics, which are subjective rather than scientific, are no foundation on which to base good public policy.
In an independent review of the industry (commissioned by the MRC), Cadence Economics has found that claims such as the enormous financial cost to the community are based on rubbery economics and questionable evidence. The review has revealed the temperance lobby has all but ignored the social, economic and health benefits of moderate drinking.
Amongst the review findings are that the alcohol industry contributes an estimated $15.6 billion to the economy (including $2.2 billion in exports), $6.5 billion in taxes and direct or indirect employment for 126,000 Australians.