The most comprehensive and credible source of data showing Australia’s relationship with alcohol is the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) National Drug Strategy Household Survey, with a sample size of almost 24 000 Australians.
The most recent survey by the AIHW, a Commonwealth statutory authority, shows that over the last 10 years there has been a marked improvement in Australia’s drinking habits. But there is more to be done.
84% of Australians now enjoy their favourite alcoholic beverages responsibly and in moderation. However, it is important we remain focused on coordinated efforts to target at-risk groups and their behaviour.
Targeted solutions will only be effective by working in a whole-of-society approach, where alignment on evidence-based options can be achieved. We want to work with and support government and NGOs to continue to reduce alcohol harm and misuse while promoting responsible consumption by adults who choose to enjoy alcohol products in moderation.
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 to guide future strategies.
KEY GOVERNMENT STATISTICS ON AUSTRALIAN ALCOHOL CONSUMPTION
- An increasing number of Australians are drinking within the lifetime risk guidelines, now 84%;
- Fewer Australians are drinking daily, down to 5.9%;
- More teenagers are abstaining all together, up to 82%;
- Younger people are delaying their first drink longer and drinking less;
- Young adults (18-24) are now less likely to drink to excess than ever before – down to 42%;
- Australians are making informed decisions to drink less with 28.4% of recent drinkers reducing the amount drunk per session and 28.8% reducing the number of times they drank;
- Australians are taking active steps to reduce harm when drinking. For instance:o 33.6% of recent drinkers always count the number of drinks they have;
o 12.8% always alternate between alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks;
o 29.9% always make a point of eating while consuming alcohol;
o 18.5% always quench their thirst by having a non-alcoholic drink before having alcohol;
o 7.1% always drink only low-alcohol drinks;
o 62.6% always limit the number of drinks they have in an evening;
o 37.8% always refuse an alcoholic drink they are offered because they don’t really want it.
The Australian Bureau of Statistics reports that Australians are consuming less alcohol today than at any point in the last 55 years. The responsible consumption message is working.
The industry is committed to targeted and evidence-based programs to tackle the 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 our drinking culture.