STATEMENT IN RESPONSE TO VICTORIAN HEALTH GROUPS
“Alcohol Beverage Sector is ready to be part of the solution”
DISAPPOINTINGLY, a collection of Victorian taxpayer funded Government agencies and activist groups have attempted to demonise Australia’s world class beer, wine and spirits producers and the thousands of Australians who proudly serve and sell these drinks. In doing so, they tarnish the fact that the vast majority of Victorians have been drinking responsibly during isolation.
Mr Andrew Wilsmore, Chief Executive Officer for Alcohol Beverages Australia said today “The hospitality sector lost close to half a million* jobs at the height of coronavirus restrictions, with an additional 15% lost from the workforces of beer, wine, and spirit producers.
“$8.5billion* has been wiped from hospitality business sales representing close to 10% of annual revenues, with April 2020 going down as the worst month on record* for beer, wine, and spirits producers.
“As restrictions ease and we attempt to rebuild our workforce and get the economy going again, the last thing we need are activist groups generating further hysteria to push their draconian policies on the vast majority of Victorians who are drinking responsibly in isolation.
“To describe the selling and delivery of our award-winning beers, wines, and spirts as the ‘pushing unhealthy products’ is a disservice to the craft and care that goes into their making and our desire for these products to be enjoyed responsibly.
“The fact Australians have turned to home delivery of beer, wine and spirits and other goods during this crisis should be viewed as a positive as it helps maintain social isolation measures.
“Of those Australians who choose to drink during isolation, the majority are consuming on average 8 standard drinks* a week – well within the official advice. Over-hyped and, frankly, contrived claims being bandied around simply do not stack up to scrutiny.
“They also do Australians, who have clearly heeded the responsible consumption message, an injustice by falsely vilifying them. Instead, Australians have earned a pat on the back and a drink in peace.
“No-one is saying there aren’t issues with alcohol. There are and more needs to be done to tackle the array of social and cultural drivers leading some people to drink at excessive levels, Mr Wilsmore said.
Note to editors: Contrary to perceptions created by a spate of dubious polls, Australians are drinking less in isolation.
The Australian Bureau of Statistics show that 85.6% of Australians are either abstaining, drinking the same or drinking less during the pandemic shutdown. That is actually a 1.6% improvement in the number of Australia’s drinking responsibly from the ABS National Health Survey finding of 84% released in December 2018.
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