PM Abbott does not want ‘Vegemite Watch’ after reports the spread is being used to make alcohol
Indigenous Affairs Minister, Nigel Scullion told the BBC that vegemite was being brought in bulk for the purpose of making alcohol and that its sales should be restricted in Australia’s dry communities.
He also told the BBC that vegemite was a “precursor to misery” and that vegemite-based alcohol was being related to domestic violence and under-age drinking.
Prime Minister Tony Abbott has however since spoken out against the restriction idea, saying for most people it is just a spread for toast and sandwiches.
Vegemite is made from leftover brewers’ yeast extract along with vegetable extract and spice additives.
In the Northern Territory and Queensland a selected number of remote Aboriginal communities have not been allowed to consume alcohol since 2005 when the Australian Federal government introduced bans in an effort to handle alcohol abuse issues.
An article published by the Journal of Ethnicity in Substance Abuse found that Indigenous people in the Northern Territory drink approximately 16.9 litres of pure alcohol each year. The journal said that the general population was found to drink 10 litres of pure alcohol every year. The journal also stated that alcohol abuse was a significant public health worry amongst Australia’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island populations.
The original BBC report from interview with Indigenous Affairs Minister Nigel Scullion can be accessed here.