Jurisdictions Fail on Alcohol Policy Scorecard - NAAA
17 December 2013 at 9:17 am
Only three out of the nine Australian jurisdictions achieved a pass in the first national scorecard for alcohol policy, the Not for Profit National Alliance for Action on Alcohol (NAAA) says.
The NAAA’s Alcohol Policy Scorecard is an assessment of how well Australian jurisdictions are currently doing in their policy responses to reduce alcohol related harm and where their efforts can be strengthened.
External assessors scored each state and territory, plus the Federal Government during mid-2013 on 10 alcohol policy criteria, which were developed to reflect current evidence regarding effectiveness and the most socially relevant alcohol policies in Australia.
Professor Mike Daube, Co-Chair of the NAAA and Public Health Association of Australia alcohol spokesperson, said three out of nine jurisdictions achieved an overall pass grade (50 per cent or higher) on their alcohol policy scorecard.
“Simply put, most Australian jurisdictions are failing in developing and implementing evidence based alcohol policy,” Prof Daube said.
The ACT government achieved the highest score (57 per cent). ACT Chief Minister Katy Gallagher said the ACT Government successfully introduced a detailed suite of liquor reforms in 2010 that included changes to liquor licence fees, the introduction of dedicated police teams to deal with alcohol related violence and incentives to encourage more boutique style venues which don’t pose a high risk to community safety.
However the Federal Government scored the lowest score (29 per cent) of all the jurisdictions.
Prof Daube said there was a special opportunity for a new Federal Government to treat reducing alcohol harms as a high priority, and a positive start would be to reverse its recent decision to defund the services delivered by the Alcohol and Other Drugs Council of Australia (ADCA).
Also scoring low scores were New South Wales (31 per cent) and South Australia (33 per cent).
“The NSW Government also has an opportunity now to strengthen alcohol policy by acting on the recommendations of the review of the State’s Liquor Act, released two days ago,” Prof Daube said.
“Immediate actions should include: introducing a risk based licensing system; including outlet density considerations in new license applications; and, increasing community and local government involvement in licensing matters.”
Todd Harper, Co-Chair of the NAAA and CEO of the Cancer Council Victoria, said in most jurisdictions there was room for improvement in health oriented pricing and taxation policies, restrictions on alcohol marketing and promotions, education programs, and having a whole-of-government strategy in place.
“We are calling on all jurisdictions to work harder at strengthening alcohol policy, given the scientific evidence that this can lead to significant improvements in public health and safety,” he said.
“An important part of achieving change in our harmful drinking culture is implementing effective prevention strategies.
“In particular, there is a clear opportunity for the Australian government to lead important action to improve alcohol policy at the national level, as this is where there are major opportunities for improving public health and safety.”
The NAAA released a 5-point plan to reduce alcohol-related harm in Australia. The plan, Healthier Families, Safer Communities, is based on scientific evidence on what works, and what is practical and achievable for the government in the short to medium term.
The 10 alcohol policy criteria are:
- A whole-of-government strategic plan for the prevention and reduction of alcohol related harm.
- Public health oriented alcohol pricing and taxation policies.
- Regulating physical availability.
- Modifying the drinking environment.
- Drink driving countermeasures.
- Restrictions on marketing.
- Education programs.
- Treatment and early intervention.
- Data management, linking and research.
- Transparent and independent policy.
National Alcohol Policy Scorecard – 2013 Results:
- Australian Capital Territory – 57 per cent
- Western Australia – 53 per cent
- Tasmania – 50 per cent
- Victoria – 46 per cent
- Northern Territory – 41 per cent
- Queensland – 39 per cent
- South Australia – 33 per cent
- New South Wales – 31 per cent
- Federal Government – 29 per cent