TODAY’S initiatives to target at-risk individuals and groups announced by Labor are a welcome acknowledgement of the work the industry and government can do to continue the positive trends in reducing harmful alcohol consumption in Australia.
Over the past 10 years government statistics show there has been a marked improvement in Australia’s drinking habits. But there is more to do.
With 84% of Australians now drinking within the recommended lifetime risk guidelines, the task ahead to tackle harms will require a continuation of the coordinated work to target at-risk groups and their behaviour.
Targeted solutions will be more effective by working in a whole-of-society approach, where alignment on evidence-based options can be achieved.
A critical first step is a proper analysis on the underlying causes for the significant advancements that have been recorded over the past decade, to extend learnings and guide future strategies.
For 20 years leading Australian producers have been signatories to the Alcohol Beverages Advertising Code (ABAC), which has evolved quickly to new the marketing and media landscape. All producers in Australia should be accountable to the Code, which ensures responsibility in both the content and placement of alcohol advertisements.
The industry has invested significantly in world-leading culture change programs under DrinkWise Australia, recognised globally for campaigns such as “Kids Absorb Your Drinking” and “Never Miss A Moment”.
KEY GOVERNMENT STATISTICS ON AUSTRALIAN ALCOHOL CONSUMPTION
The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare’s triennial study showing all major population-wide statistics heading in the right direction:
- Alcohol consumption on a per capita basis is at the lowest point in more than half a century
• Increasing number of Australians are drinking within the lifetime risk guidelines, now 84%
• Fewer Australians are drinking daily, down to 5.9%
• More underage teenagers are abstaining all together, up to 82%
• Younger people are delaying their first drink for longer and drinking less
• Young adults (18-24 year olds) are now less likely to drink to excess than ever before – down to 42%.
Cohorts and areas of concern:
- 30-39 year old age group has seen little no improvement over recent survey periods.
• 40-49 year old age group has shown slight increases in at-risk drinking patterns.
To make further improvements will require targeted measures to tackle the array of social and cultural drivers leading some people to drink at excessive levels. Australia’s beer, wine and spirits producers are in lock-step with political efforts from all sides to continue to improve on our drinking culture.