Naked Wines said around 600 customers in the Northern Territory would be affected. (Facebook: Naked Wines Australia)
An online wine retailer will no longer ship to the Northern Territory because of recent changes to the Liquor Act, designed to curtail the region’s worrying rate of alcohol-related harm.
- Naked Wines pulls out of Northern Territory market over alcohol floor price
- Around 600 customers to be affected by the changes
- Policy only targets high-volume alcohol products, NT Government says
The Northern Territory has become the first Australian jurisdiction to put a floor price on alcohol, and as of this month, booze will be sold for at least $1.30 per standard drink.
A floor price is a minimum amount for which alcohol can be sold — for example, if the floor price is $1, a bottle of wine with eight standard drinks in it would be sold for $8 or more.
Naked Wines has told its customers that changes to the cost of all wine bought, and the subsequent cost of shipping, would directly impact their business.
Wine Director Mark Pollard said around 600 customers in the Territory would be affected.
Mr Pollard said the business regretted the move, but could not justify the price increase. (Naked Wines Australia)
“The difficult thing for us is that every wine has a different alcohol level,” he told ABC Radio Darwin.
“So you have to have a calculation on every single wine to generate a price at what you should sell that at.
“Obviously that’s a big impost for us, so we couldn’t justify spending the money.”
Mr Pollard said the business regretted the move, but could not justify the increase in costs.
“You never know, going forward we might be able to do something, but the pretence of our whole business is to have great wine at a great price,” he said.
“We just couldn’t keep our promise to the customers, so we have to pull the pin.”
Canada and Scotland are among the few other jurisdictions globally to set a floor price on alcohol, which was one of the key recommendations from a wide-ranging alcohol review released by former NT Supreme Court Justice Trevor Riley.
Alcohol floor price ‘not a tax’
Prior to the introduction of the floor price, the cheapest alcohol available in Darwin was reported to be 30 cents per standard drink.
Northern Territory Chief Minister Michael Gunner said the retailer’s decision did not “make any sense” based off the Government’s policy.
“We know that too many Territorians experience alcohol-related crime … that’s why we have a suite of measures, of which the floor price is one,” he said.
“We made sure that we targeted high-volume alcohol products by having that floor price in place.
“If you’re paying above $10, your bottle of wine isn’t going to be affected by that floor price … so I don’t understand the decision by that online retailer.”
Chief Minister Michael Gunner said the company’s decision did not make sense. (ABC News: Mitchell Woolnough)
Mr Gunner conceded some people would be “inconvenienced” by the changes, but said the Government’s priority was minimising booze-fuelled harm.
“The floor price is not a tax, like a volumetric tax,” he said.
“[But] that would obviously be much better policy and we want the Australian Government to do a volumetric tax.”