More support needed to cut back on alcohol

14 September 2016

Over 1 in 4 Australian adults consumed alcohol at levels which put them at risk of short-term harm in 2013, according to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) flagship report, Australia’s health 2016.

“A real concern is 39% of young people drank alcohol at levels that put them at risk of harm,” said Dr John Crozier, Co-Chair of the National Alliance for Action on Alcohol.

“According to the report, alcohol contributed to over 5% of the total burden of disease and injury in Australia in 2011. Among motor vehicle occupants, alcohol was responsible for 28% of the burden due to traffic accidents,” said Dr Crozier.

“Alcohol was responsible for almost a quarter of the health burden due to suicide and self-inflicted injuries, and of chronic liver disease,” Dr Crozier continued.

“Australians have a growing understanding of the health risks from alcohol. The proportion of adults who consumed alcohol at risky levels decreased between 2010 and 2013. Unfortunately, many people find cutting back difficult,” said Dr Crozier.

Australia’s health 2016 shows alcohol was the leading drug for which people sought treatment from alcohol and other drug treatment services. It was the drug of principle concern for almost 2 in 5 people seeking treatment.

“For people wanting to cut back on their drinking, it can feel like an uphill battle they face alone. Governments have the opportunity to help those people who want to reduce their alcohol consumption and minimise their risk of developing chronic diseases,” said Dr Crozier.

“Some ways the Government could do this are by limiting alcohol advertising, especially to children and on public transport. In a time of budget austerity, taxing alcohol in line with the harm it does to our community would be a sensible step forward. This should include replacing the wine equalisation tax with a volumetric tax on alcohol,” said Dr Crozier.

“It’s not about creating a ‘Nanny State’, it’s about helping people make decisions that protect their own health and the health of those around them,” continued Dr Crozier.

“The Government needs to support communities that want to put sensible limits on trading hours of bars and pubs, including last drinks at 3am. It is about listening to the community and doing what’s best for the health of Australians,” concluded Dr Crozier.

TO ARRANGE AN INTERVIEW WITH DR JOHN CROZIER PLEASE CONTACT:

Devin Bowles – 02 6171 1306 or 02 6247 1187 after hours

About the National Alliance for Action on Alcohol:

The National Alliance for Action on Alcohol (NAAA) is a national coalition representing more than 90 organisations from across Australia. NAAA’s members cover a diverse range of interests, including public health, law enforcement, local government, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health, child and adolescent health, and family and community services.

www.actiononalcohol.org.au

Twitter: @ACTIONonALCOHOL

Time for all political parties to ban alcohol advertising to kids

29 June 2016: There is still time for all major parties to commit to closing the loophole that allows alcohol advertising to children during televised sporting events says Dr John Crozier, co-chair of the National Alliance for Action on Alcohol (NAAA).

Today the Greens launched a policy to end advertising alcohol on TV to children during sporting events. The policy would ban alcohol ads on commercial TV when children are watching, from 6am-9am and from 4pm-9pm when school is in, and between 6am and 9pm on weekends and school holidays.

“We know drinking is bad for people under 18 years. Drinking from a young age can harm the developing brain, and increase the risk of alcohol-related problems as a teenager and adult. Young people may also make poor choices while under the influence of alcohol, endangering themselves and those around them,” said Dr Crozier.

“The community expects the government to protect our children and young people from aggressive advertising by the big alcohol companies. 70% of Australians support banning alcohol ads on TV before 8:30pm. It is time for all of the major parties to join with ordinary Australians,” said Dr Crozier.

“Today, the Greens have shown leadership on this important issue. Commercial interests have been prioritised over expert advice and community concerns, and it is time for all political parties to step in and acknowledge the failure of self-regulation and the need for legislated controls,” Dr Crozier continued.

“Our children are exposed to far too much alcohol advertising. It is hard to watch sport on Australian TV without being hit with a flood of alcohol ads,” said Dr Crozier.

“There is clear evidence children and young people who are exposed to alcohol advertising start drinking earlier. Among those already drinking, alcohol advertising increases the amount they drink,” said Dr Crozier.

“Many parents are stuck between a rock and a hard place. They like sport’s messages about fitness and a healthy lifestyle for their kids, but they don’t like the association with alcohol. They don’t want their children to think that alcohol helps with sporting achievement or social success,” said Dr Crozier.

The NAAA election priorities are available at http://actiononalcohol.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/160531-NAAA-2016-Election-Policy-Statement-for-distribution.pdf.

ENDS

TO ARRANGE AN INTERVIEW WITH DR CROZIER PLEASE CONTACT:

Sophie Brown – 0421 749 608

Saturation of Alcohol Advertising in State of Origin a Disgrace

Tomorrow’s first State of Origin match signals the beginning of young Australians being exposed to the mass alcohol advertising to come over the State of Origin games says co-chair of the National Alliance for Action on Alcohol (NAAA) Committee Dr John Crozier.

“It is shameful that children continue to be exposed to harmful alcohol advertising as families tune their televisions to live sporting events like the State of Origin,” said Dr Crozier, also Chair of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons Trauma Committee.

“Allowing our sporting heroes to be walking billboards for alcohol products during prime time viewing encourages children to start drinking at a younger age and at more harmful levels when they reach adulthood.

“Alcohol advertising has never been as pervasive, as inventive, and as well-resourced as it is now. There is an urgent need for effective regulation that prioritises the health of young people, and supports public health efforts to change Australia’s harmful drinking culture.”

The Commercial Television Industry Code of Practice was reviewed earlier this year and continued to allow alcohol advertising before 8.30pm during live broadcasts of sporting events.

“The Australian Government has continuously failed to end the unhealthy link between alcohol sponsorship and sport and as a result children are exposed to an ever increasing rate of alcohol advertising,” said Dr Crozier.

A recent survey conducted by the Foundation of Alcohol Research and Education (FARE) shows 60% of Australians believe alcohol sponsorship should be banned from sport and 70% believe alcohol advertising should be banned on television before 8:30pm.

Protecting children from alcohol advertising and sponsorship is one action of NAAA’s 4-point plan to prevent alcohol harm. NAAA hopes this 4-point plan speaks to politicians in the upcoming Federal Election to take action in reducing alcohol harms.

“Commercial interests have been prioritised over expert advice and community concerns, and it is time for the next Government to step in and acknowledge the failure of self-regulation and the need for legislated controls.

“A whole-of-system review that considers the effect of alcohol advertising on young people across all mediums is required, and the NAAA is calling for an immediate end to the Code of Practice loophole which allows alcohol advertising during sporting events before 8.30pm.”

ENDS

To arrange an interview with Dr Crozier please contact: Amy Kimber – 0437 144 050

Please click here for the PDF of the media release

Federal Budget: Hope for the next generation

The Federal Budget released today shows the Government is taking positive steps to address the Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) rates in Australia.

Investing in FASD prevention shows the Government is committed to lowering the FASD rates to improve quality of life for the next generation. A national register would go a long way to further supporting this initiative.

“FASD is a life sentence for those born with it – there is no cure,” said National Alliance for Action on Alcohol (NAAA) co-chair and Chair of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons Trauma Committee Dr John Crozier.

“FASD devastates families and communities. It can have major impacts on children’s intellectual ability and behaviours, putting pressure on health care services,” said Dr Crozier.

“This initiative is aimed at three key aspects of FASD: clinician education, prevention and research. This support is key to prevent FASD by empowering women with the right information to make educated decisions about the risks of drinking alcohol while pregnant,” says Dr Crozier.

“The clinical network and information resources that will be made available to clinicians are an important step in improving patient outcomes and helping clinicians better understand how FASD affects their patients,” Dr Crozier said.

“Allocation of funds in tonight’s budget is an important step in the right direction, but it won’t solve the FASD problem in Australia,” said Dr Crozier.

NAAA calls on the Government to establish and fund a central register of people diagnosed with fetal alcohol, similar to the Australian Cerebral Palsy Register. Action should also include comprehensive steps to reduce harmful drinking throughout the community.

Alcohol related items in the Federal Budget will be reviewed over the coming week by NAAA.

ENDS

TO ARRANGE AN INTERVIEW WITH DR JOHN CROZIER PLEASE CONTACT:

Amy Kimber – 0437 144 050

 

Twitter: @ACTIONonALCOHOL

For pdf of media release: 160503 Hope for the next generation

Alcohol tax reform will save lives and money

New economic modelling makes clear the substantial monetary and health benefits of a fairer alcohol tax regime and adds further weight to calls by the National Alliance for Action on Alcohol (NAAA) for an overhaul of Australia’s broken alcohol tax system.

“Australia’s current system for taxing alcohol is incoherent and flawed from both a public health and economic perspective: it favours the production and consumption of cheap alcohol, contributes to the growing burden of alcohol-related harms, and does not recoup the costs of these harms across the Australian community,” said Dr John Crozier, Co-Chair of the NAAA and Chair of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons Trauma Committee.

The economic modelling, undertaken by ACIL Allen Consulting and commissioned by the Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education (FARE), shows that a ten percent increase to all alcohol excise, combined with changes that tax wine according the its alcohol content, would generate $2.9 billion in revenue and result in a 9.4 percent reduction in alcohol consumption.

“This modelling demonstrates that alcohol tax reform is both an economic and health imperative, with the potential to reduced alcohol-related harms, offset the economic costs that result from these harms, and contribute to Government revenue”, said Dr Crozier.

Reforming Australia’s alcohol taxation regime and replacing the WET with a volumetric tax has been supported by numerous economic and taxation experts and ten separate Government reviews.

“Urgent reform is needed to address the $36 billion in social and health costs that alcohol use causes each year,” said Mr Michael Moore, Co-Chair of NAAA and CEO of the Public Health Association of Australia (PHAA).

“As the Government grapples with the challenges of a budget deficit and shortfall in government revenue, alcohol tax reform has the potential to not only reduce the economic spill-over costs from alcohol harms, but to also generate the revenue needed to finance our health, education and service systems”, said Mr Michael Moore.

“It’s important to remember that we’re not just talking about lost tax revenue. Each year in Australia alcohol kills 5,500 Australians and hospitalises a further 157,000, exacting a substantial toll on communities and service systems. That toll could be reduced by abolishing the WET, and replacing it with a more equitable and efficient tax,” Mr Moore said.

“Alcohol taxation and pricing have been shown to be the most effective policy option for reducing alcohol-related harms, particularly among heavy drinkers and young people. Alcohol taxation reform is a major public health and social policy issue in this country and urgent action and leadership is required to improve health, restore quality of life, and save lives,” said Mr Moore.

 

ENDS

 

TO ARRANGE AN INTERVIEW WITH DR JOHN CROZIER PLEASE CONTACT:

Amy Kimber – 0437 144 050

 

TO ARRANGE AN INTERVIEW WITH MICHAEL MOORE PLEASE CONTACT:

Sophie Brown – 0421 749 608

Twitter: @ACTIONonALCOHOL

For pdf of media release: 160308 Alcohol tax reform will save lives and money_FINAL

 

 

NAAA supports Senate Inquiry into alcohol-related violence

The National Alliance for Action on Alcohol (NAAA) has backed calls by Senator Glenn Lazarus for an Inquiry into alcohol-related violence, saying that the Government can no longer ignore the need for decisive action to tackle the alcohol-related harms afflicting local communities across Australia.

However, NAAA co-chair Dr John Crozier has urged the Inquiry to adopt a comprehensive approach that addresses the range of alcohol-related harms and the underlying drivers of these harms.

“The reality is that the devastating toll of alcohol isn’t just confined to our city streets on a Saturday night, and we are seeing increasing death, disability, health service burden and social impacts of alcohol across Australia. The Inquiry needs to take a comprehensive approach that focuses on the underlying drivers of these harms, including the price, availability and advertising of alcohol,” said Dr Crozier.

Dr Crozier, who is also Chair of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons Trauma Committee, said surgeons and front-line medical staff are confronted with the effects of alcohol misuse daily, treating patients with injuries resulting from road traffic trauma, interpersonal violence and personal accidents that are caused by excessive alcohol consumption.

Senator Lazarus has called upon the Federal Government to show leadership and to work in partnership with all states and territories in developing a national strategy to address the issue.

“While states and territories have introduced some important reforms, there is an urgent need for a comprehensive and coordinated response at a national level,” said Michael Moore, NAAA co-chair and CEO of the Public Health Association of Australia.

“Australia has not had a stand-alone national alcohol strategy since 2011, and the 2014 National Alcohol Policy Scorecard rated the Federal Government as the lowest performing of all the jurisdictions in terms of its efforts to develop and implement evidence-based alcohol policy, mainly due to the absence of a whole-of-government strategic plan to address alcohol-related harm.

“Despite growing community concerns and numerous reviews and reports calling for policy action at a Federal level, we are yet to see alcohol taxation reforms, meaningful regulation of alcohol marketing, or mandatory labelling of alcohol products.

“At the same time, the Government has dismantled key advisory groups including the Alcohol and Other Drugs Council of Australia (ADCA), the Australian National Preventative Health Agency (ANHPA), the Drug and Alcohol Prevention and Treatment Advisory Committee, and the National Indigenous Drug and Alcohol Committee (NIDAC),” said Mr Moore.

The call for a Senate Inquiry coincides with a Galaxy poll, released yesterday, which shows 80 per cent of Queenslanders believe governments need to do more to address alcohol-related harms. It also follows research, released last week by the Australasian College for Emergency Medicine, which showed that one in seven patients attending Australian emergency departments on Australia Day were there as a result of alcohol harm.

“The devastating effects of excess alcohol use are comprehensive, and their prevalence is far-reaching; the Government’s approach to this issue must be equally comprehensive and far-reaching if it is to be effective,” Mr Moore said.

“We need a comprehensive and coordinated approach to make a national difference. Political leadership and policy action at a national level is vital, and a comprehensive Inquiry will provide an opportunity to examine the evidence and galvanise a whole-of-government response”.

 Download the media release pdf: NAAA supports Senate Inquiry into alcohol-related violence

Summer exposes children to more harmful alcohol advertising

Eighteen-year-old Cole Miller has become the latest victim in what is believed to be an alcohol-fuelled attack, passing away in a Queensland hospital yesterday after being punched in Fortitude Valley in Brisbane early on Sunday morning.

Dr John Crozier, Co-Chair of the NAAA and Chair of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons Trauma Committee said that Mr Miller’s death was a tragedy and urged the Queensland Government to bring in reduced trading hours as soon as possible.

“It is shameful that while young people are killed in these unprovoked attacks, children continue to be exposed to harmful alcohol advertising as families tune their televisions to live sporting events over the holidays,” Dr Crozier said.

“The Australian Government failed to end the unhealthy link between alcohol sponsorship and sport when the Commercial Television Industry Code of Practice was recently reviewed.

“The Code contains a loophole which allows alcohol advertising before 8.30pm during live broadcasts of sporting events, and as a result children are exposed to an ever increasing rate of alcohol advertising.

“Instead of strengthening the regulations, the revised Code of Practice has lowered the bar even further, extending the times at which alcohol can be advertised, broadening the range of alcohol promotions that are exempt from regulation, and reducing the accessibility of the complaints process.

“Alcohol advertising has never been as pervasive, as inventive, and as well-resourced as it is now. There is an urgent need for effective regulation that prioritises the health of children and young people.”

National market research earlier this year showed that 74 percent of Australians support phasing out alcohol commercials from television sports broadcasts, with only 8 percent opposed.

“Children who regularly see alcohol advertising are more likely to start drinking at a younger age, and drink at harmful levels when they reach adult-hood. Much of this marketing also reinforces the harmful drinking culture in Australia and overwhelms health and medical efforts to change this,” Dr Crozier said.

“We know that an expert report prepared by the Australian National Preventive Health Agency more than a year ago recommended that the Government legislate to control alcohol advertising and marketing if the industry failed to voluntarily remove the live sports broadcast exemption.

“Commercial interests have been prioritised over expert advice and community concerns, and it is time for either the Minister for Communications or the relevant Minister from the Health portfolio to step in and acknowledge the failure of self-regulation and the need for legislated controls.

“A whole-of-system review that considers the effect of alcohol advertising on young people across all mediums is required, and the NAAA is calling for an immediate end to the Code of Practice loophole which allows alcohol advertising during sporting events before 8.30pm.”


DOWNLOAD THE PDF: Summer exposes children to more harmful alcohol advertising

MEDIA ENQUIRIES:
For further information or to arrange an interview with Dr Crozier please contact:

Amy Kimber – 0437 144 050

Australian Government’s alcohol policy a ‘fizzer’

New results:

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

For the second year running the Australian Federal Government has received the annual Fizzers award today by the National Alliance of Action on Alcohol (NAAA) for its inaction in developing and implementing alcohol policy in 2014.

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 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.

Professor Mike Daube, Co-Chair of the NAAA and Public Health Association of Australia alcohol spokesperson was disappointed with the overall results of the 2014 National Alcohol Policy Scorecard.

“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,” said Professor Daube.

“It’s disappointing that the Australian Government is falling even further behind the rest of the country when it comes to developing and implementing evidence-based policies that reduce alcohol-related harm,” said Professor Daube.

“Their low score largely reflects the lack of action and deep funding cuts in a number of key alcohol policy areas. The most critical shortcomings include the lack of a national alcohol strategy since 2010, and inaction in the areas of alcohol taxation, regulation of alcohol marketing, and labelling of alcohol products. Other backward steps also include the Government’s dismantling of a number of key advisory groups such as the Alcohol and Other Drugs Council of Australia (ADCA) and the Australian National Preventative Health Agency (ANPHA) and ending the Be The Influence sports sponsorship program.

In contrast, the ACT government remained on top for the second year with the highest score overall (48%) and will receive an award in recognition of its achievements.

Rank Jurisdiction Total points achieved  Total possible points  Final score (%)
 1  ACT  13.5  28  48
 2  WA  12  28  45
 3  NSW  11.5  28  41
 4  VIC  11.5  28  41
 5  TAS  10  28  36
 6  QLD  9  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

MEDIA ENQUIRIES:
Todd Harper, Professor Mike Daube and Michael Thorn are available for interview.

For further information or to arrange an interview with a NAAA spokesperson please contact:

Emma Fay, Cancer Council Victoria, 0415 477 537

Amy Smith, Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education, 0422 385 240

NSW Government’s alcohol policy ‘most improved’

New results:

  • Majority of Australian jurisdictions scored well below a pass grade in alcohol policy
  • NSW received the award for the ‘most improved’ due to the major reforms introduced in 2014.
  • The Australian Federal Government scored the lowest result and has received the 2014 Fizzers award.

The New South Wales (NSW) Government has been crowned the ‘most improved’ jurisdiction by the National Alliance of Action on Alcohol (NAAA) in recognition of the major alcohol policy reforms which were introduced during 2014.

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.

This year the NSW Government has received the ‘most improved’ award, after the State’s overall alcohol policy score increased by 10 percent from 2013, rising to 41%. The considerable year-on-year improvement is a reflection of the major alcohol reforms announced last January.

NAAA spokesperson, Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education Chief Executive, Michael Thorn commended the NSW Government for their strong leadership in 2014.

“The results of this year’s National Alcohol Policy Scorecard highlight that NSW is on the right track when it comes to the prevention and reduction of the State’s heavy alcohol toll. Each day in NSW alcohol is responsible for 66 assaults, 28 emergency department presentations, 142 hospitalisations and three deaths,” Mr Thorn said.

“NSW improved alcohol policy score reflects the strong action taken by the Government following the tragic events in Sydney last summer, which saw the death of Daniel Christie and a community campaign led by medical, public health and law enforcement organisations.”

The package of measures included the introduction of 3am last drinks and 1:30am lockouts in the Kings Cross and Sydney CBD precincts, a state-wide 10pm closing time for all bottle shops, a ban on high risk liquor promotions, and the introduction of annual risk-based licensing fee for all liquor outlets.

In contrast to the progress shown by NSW, the Australian Federal Government’s performance was very poor, scoring the lowest result overall (9%) on the national scorecard and dropping 20% from last year, largely reflecting the lack of action and deep funding cuts in a number of key alcohol policy areas. The ACT Government remained on top for the second year with the highest overall score (48%) and will receive an award in recognition of its achievements.

Professor Mike Daube, Co-Chair of the NAAA and Public Health Association of Australia alcohol spokesperson was disappointed with the overall results of the 2014 National Alcohol Policy Scorecard.

“The majority of jurisdictions again did not score well this year for their alcohol policies, with all scoring well 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,” said Professor Daube.

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 it is important to acknowledge the significant improvements to NSW alcohol policy over the last twelve months, effective harm reduction does not begin and end with those measures and there is much more to be done to better protect the community. With the NSW State Election fast approaching in March, now is the time for politicians to commit to an evidence-based state-wide plan of action and to continue the job that was started last January,” 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

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