ACT Government leading the way in alcohol policy

New results:

  • Majority of Australian jurisdictions scored well below a pass grade in alcohol policy
  • ACT led the country again in alcohol policy for 2014
  • The Australian Federal Government scored the lowest result and has received the 2014 Fizzers award.

The ACT Government has received the National Alcohol Policy Scorecard award by the National Alliance for Action on Alcohol (NAAA) for its continuing efforts to improve and strengthen alcohol policy in the jurisdiction.

Representing more than 70 organisations, NAAA was formed in 2009 to strengthen and improve policies that prevent alcohol-related harm and in 2013, the alliance introduced the National Alcohol Policy Scorecard to assess the policy response of Australian jurisdictions.

The Australian Capital Territory (ACT) Government is the national leader for the second year running, receiving the highest overall score of 48% in the 2014 alcohol policy scorecard.

ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr accepted the award from NAAA spokesperson, Chief Executive of the Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education, Michael Thorn who praised the ACT Government for leading the National Alcohol Policy Scorecard.

“The results highlight that the ACT Government is continuing to do well when it comes to taking a multi-faceted, whole-of-government approach in the prevention and reduction of alcohol-related harm. The ACT currently leads the rest of the country in almost all areas of alcohol policy and is being duly recognised for this with the award presented today,” Mr Thorn said.

“The ACT Government has demonstrated strong leadership through its measurable plan, drink driving laws, robust risk-based licensing fee structure and commitment to evaluation and improvement through its current review of the Liquor Act. The ACT is also moving towards introducing secondary supply laws that further protect young people from alcohol-related harms.”

ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr says the ACT Government is committed to continually reviewing its policies in order to try and reduce the harm associated with alcohol abuse.

“It is a pleasure to accept this award today which acknowledges the successes we have had in this area in recent years. Being judged as the best jurisdiction in Australia is a positive indication that we are on the right path in terms of our alcohol policy. However, there is always more work to be done so I look forward to working with the National Alliance for Action on Alcohol and other stakeholders to further strengthen the ACT’s policies related to alcohol in the future,” said Chief Minister Barr.

In contrast, the Australian Federal Government’s performance was very poor, scoring the lowest result overall (9%) on the national scorecard, a drop of 20 percent from last year, largely reflecting the lack of action and deep funding cuts in a number of key alcohol policy areas.

NSW received the award for most improved, moving upwards by 10 percentage points (to 41%) from 2013, reflecting the major reforms introduced by the NSW government during 2014, including the introduction of 1:30am lockouts and 3:00am last drinks in Sydney’s CBD, bans on the sale of shots after midnight, a state-wide 10pm closing time for all bottle shops, a ban on high risk promotions, and a community awareness campaign to address binge drinking.

Professor Mike Daube, Co-Chair of the NAAA and Public Health Association of Australia’s alcohol spokesperson praised the ACT for its achievement but was disappointed with the results of the 2014 scorecard.

“This is the second time that the ACT has come out on top on the National Alcohol Policy Scorecard and that is to be commended.” said Professor Daube. “However, the majority of jurisdictions again did not score well this year for their alcohol policies, with all scoring below a pass grade (less than 50%). The Australian Government was by far the lowest performing jurisdiction in the country and in recognition of this has received the 2014 Fizzers award.”

The NAAA has called for action in three priority areas – alcohol pricing and taxation, alcohol marketing and promotion and alcohol availability – supported by strong education and information programs.

“While the ACT Government currently leads the country in alcohol policy, there are still actions it can take to better protect the community from alcohol-related harms. This should start with the implementation of the recommendations of the 2014 review of the Liquor Act, including amending trading hours and outlet density controls, strengthening regulations on harmful discounting and promotions and increasing community engagement in liquor licensing decisions,” Mr Thorn said. 

Ranking of Total Scores, 2014 National Alcohol Policy Scorecard

Rank

Jurisdiction

Total points achieved

Total possible points

Final score (%)

1

ACT

13.5

28

48

2

WA

12.0

28

45

3

NSW

11.5

28

41

4

VIC

11.5

28

41

5

TAS

10.0

28

36

6

QLD

9.0

28

32

7

NT

8.5

28

30

8

SA

8.5

28

30

9

FEDERAL

2.5

27

9


DOWNLOAD THE FULL REPORT: National Alcohol Policy Scorecard 2014 Results: Benchmarking Australian Governments’ Progress Towards Preventing & Reducing Alcohol Related Harm