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