ADCA highlight election campaign silence on alcohol

Was pleased to see ADCA have upped the ante with the Labor and Liberal parties on their alcohol policy thoughts (or lack of) in the lead up to the election. The full press release:

Voters unaware of election alcohol policies

The Alcohol and other Drugs Council of Australia (ADCA) has sent personal letters to the leaders of the major political parties calling on them to review and announce their alcohol policies in relation to its misuse, excessive consumption, pricing, availability, accessibility and promotion. These are all contributing factors which directly impact on the health, family, social and welfare aspects of our community.

ADCA is the peak national body representing the interests of the Australian alcohol and other drugs (AOD) sector nationally, and its primary role is to see a reduction in AOD-related harm nationally.

Chief Executive Officer of ADCA, David Templeman says “Each year 3000 Australians die and another 10 000 need ongoing medical treatment through alcohol-related harm. The annual cost in alcohol related absenteeism is 7.5 million working days and the economic impact of its misuse is $15.3 billion. Alcohol is not an ordinary commodity and should not be treated as one.”

ADCA acknowledges that Australian Governments have led the world in action to reduce harm tough drink-driving laws and reduced taxes on low alcohol beer, however in other areas Australia has lagged.

“ADCA believes wine taxes should be based on alcohol content and equalised with beer taxes per unit of alcohol. Raising alcohol taxes across the board would be effective in reducing alcohol related problems in Australia” Mr Templeman said.

“It should be the role of the Government to progressively increase tax rates for alcohol over several years, beyond CPI adjustments. Revenue gained from this should then be provided to treatment services and prevention programs,” he added.

Central to addressing the harm from alcohol is advertising. ADCA feels that promotion of alcohol should be managed more responsibly with advertisements carrying warning messages about the potential harms of abuse, similar to tobacco advertising and packaging.

“ADCA is committed to working with Government to reduce alcohol and drug-related harm throughout Australia, and we hope that this issue is given some serious consideration by all political parties in the lead up to the Federal election,” Mr Templeman said.’

Of course, chances are there’ll be zero response from either side.