DRUNKS should pay for the damage they cause and the resources they use, the NSW auditor-general says.
Alcohol abuse is “like a parasite drawing the lifeblood out of government services”, Peter Achterstraat said in a report handed down on Tuesday. He called on the state government to consider charging alcohol abusers for the $1 billion they cost taxpayers in state services each year. It equates to $416 per NSW household.”We’ve heard of the concept of user-pays. It might be time to consider the notion of abuser-pays,” Mr Achterstraat told reporters.”So people who are involved in drunken behaviour are asked to make a contribution to fix up the damage that they’ve caused.” He said if other costs such as lost productivity at work were included the total cost of alcohol abuse came to about $3.87 billion a year – $1565 per household.
NSW opposition leader John Robertson said he was concerned that the government’s close relationship with the alcohol industry was preventing it from taking tougher action.