The Victorian Alcohol Policy Coalition (APC) has launched its election policy platform for the 2014 State election, “Five steps to a safer, healthier Victoria”. The platform calls on the government elected in Victoria this November to implement evidence-based strategies to reduce alcohol-harm.
Evidence shows that strategies which reduce availability of liquor, including reducing trading hours, can have significant impacts in reducing the level of harm caused by alcohol.
Grogwatch joins the APC’s call on all the parties contesting the election to commit to introducing a series of measures to improve public health and safety.
The five key areas the APC would like to see focussed on in Victoria are:
WHEN WE DRINK: Introduce 3.00am as the latest time for serving alcohol in pubs and clubs; maintain and extend the freeze on granting new late night licences, and make 10.00pm the latest closing time for packaged liquor outlets.
WHERE WE DRINK: Tailor approaches to liquor licensing in high risk areas; introduce tighter controls on the number of liquor licences and prioritise harm minimisation in liquor licensing.
HOW WE DRINK: Promote safer consumption of alcohol including by introducing responsible service requirements for secondary supply and tightening controls on the availability of packaged liquor.
DRINK MESSAGES: Reduce exposure to alcohol advertising for children and continue community awareness and media campaigns to address the culture of binge drinking and the associated alcohol related violence.
POLICY EVALUATION: Collect alcohol sales data in order to understand drinking trends in Victoria and provide a base for policy development and evaluation
Grogwatch acknowledges work already underway in Victoria, and congratulates the Victorian Government for initiatives including:
- VicHealth’s culture change program, currently featuring the “Name that Point” campaign.
- The introduction of risk-based liquor licensing.
- Introduction of secondary supply legislation (teen drinking laws).
- The extension until 2015 of the freeze on late-night licenses (after 1am) in the CBD and the inner city municipalities of Melbourne, Port Phillip, Stonnington and Yarra.
While these initiatives show steps in the right direction, Grogwatch would like to see the government go further to reduce alcohol harm. While alcohol remains a major cause of preventable death and illness across the state, we believe it deserves more attention and scrutiny.
Grogwatch looks forward to providing readers with analysis of any alcohol-related election commitments in the lead up to the November state election.
We’re interested in what alcohol harm prevention and reduction initiatives you’d like to see on the agenda during the lead up to the Victorian state election. Let us know by commenting below.
The Alcohol Policy Coalition is a collaboration of health and social agencies with shared concern relating to the misuse of alcohol and its health and social impacts on the community. The Alcohol Policy Coalition’s long-term goal is to promote a safer, healthier community drinking culture.
Partners: Australian Medical Association (Victoria), Australian Drug Foundation, Cancer Council Victoria, Public Health Association of Australia (Victoria), Royal Australasian College of Surgeons, Turning Point, Uniting Church in Australia, Synod of Victoria and Tasmania, Victorian Alcohol and Drug Association.