Australia Markets open in 3 hrs 8 mins

TWE says no to alcohol price floor

Public health campaigns on the dangers of excessive drinking were more effective than governments imposing a minimum floor price on alcohol, the chief executive of wine maker and bottler Treasury Wine Estates says.

David Dearie said he did not believe a minimum price would stop problem drinking and it was unfair to penalise the majority of people who drank responsibly.

"I don't believe a minimum floor price would address the social and health associated with excessive alcohol consumption," Mr Dearie told a business lunch in Sydney on Thursday.

"Excessive consumption is entrenched and is a complex issue and a range of tools, particularly effective public education programs, applied by government and industry and public health organisations is the only successful way to combat alcohol abuse."

Mr Dearie was responding to a draft report earlier this month by Promoting a Healthy Australia, which is the national preventative health agency, on introducing a minimum floor price for alcohol.

The agency's report, Exploring the Public Interest for a Minimum Price on Alcohol, recommended not introducing a minimum floor price nationally but said it should be continued to be considered in more local circumstances across Australia.

The federal government had requested the agency investigate whether the introduction of a minimum price would reduce health risks associated with alcohol.

Mr Dearie on Thursday also said the demand for more premium quality expensive wine had increased globally, particularly in countries with aging populations, despite the global financial crisis.

"In developed markets aging populations are drinking more wine," he said.

"The aging population is demanding better quality wines at higher prices."

He said even consumers were also now drinking wine at a younger age.