17 February 2017
A report released today on alcohol-related harm in Western Australian electorates cannot be relied upon as a credible source of information.
“The Alcohol-related Harms in Western Australian Electoral Districts report is a collection of falsehoods, inaccuracies and gross overstatements – the degree of its misrepresentation is astounding,” Alcohol Beverages Australia Executive Director Fergus Taylor said.
“It is disappointing that this misleading data masquerading as evidence has even been published because the methodology it uses is completely unsound,” Mr Taylor said.
“The report categorises all deaths, emergency department presentations and serious assaults that occur across the state as alcohol-related, irrespective of whether any alcohol consumption has been recorded in victims or perpetrators.
“The report categorises alcohol-related harm as anyone aged over 15 with cancers, cardiovascular conditions, mental health issues, injuries from assaults and incidents including, falls, drownings, road accidents and even frostbite! Simply presenting at an emergency department with an injury at certain hours of the night is also automatically categorised as alcohol-related.
“The many publicly-funded organisations involved in this report should apologise to the people of Western Australia.
“That this report is set to be distributed to WA election candidates as ‘evidence’ of the supposed impact of alcohol in their electorates is even more outrageous as the data has been collected by postcode and suburb, meaning the same data may be recorded several times in different electorates.
“The fact remains that no credible evidence exists that alcohol causes violence, and recent figures actually show a decrease in ‘alcohol-related’ violent incidents in WA during a period of increased liquor licenses across the state.
“The overwhelming majority of people enjoy their drinks responsibly and in moderation and will never experience violence as a result.
“West Australian election candidates and voters should ignore this inaccurate scaremongering which is being cynically distributed at such a sensitive point in the state’s electoral cycle.”
Alcohol Beverages Australia is the peak industry body created to highlight the positive social, cultural and economic contribution of alcohol beverages in Australia, and promote, explain and defend the legitimate rights of the industry and the 15 million Australians who drink responsibly.
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