Welcome to Alcohol Action Station edition #143
Issue no. 143
In this Issue
  • Welcome to Alcohol Action Station
  • Did you know?
  • Proposal to Restrict WA Police Powers in Liquor Licensing Decisions
  • Party Like It's Payday...With Rum?
  • Dan Murphy’s To Take Legal Action Against the NT Government
  • Last-Drinks and Lockout Laws: New Research
  • Young Heavy Drinkers Buy Cheaper Alcohol
  • New Research on Pre-Drinking
  • Alcohol in the News
  • The Facts

Welcome to Alcohol Action Station

Following the election on Saturday, WA now has a new government.
In the lead up to the election, the McCusker Centre, in partnership with many other health and community organisations, called on the future leaders of the state to
commit to early action to protect children and young people from the harmful effects of alcohol.
WA Labor
announced that, if elected, they would restrict alcohol advertising on all Public Transport Authority property, including on buses, bus stops and train stations. The McCusker Centre supports this evidence-based policy which prioritises the health and well-being of WA’s children and young people.
The new cabinet has now been
announced, and Ministers relevant to alcohol issues include:

  • Hon Roger Cook MLA, Deputy Premier; Minister for Health; Minister for Mental Health
  • Hon Paul Papalia MLA, Minister for Racing and Gaming
  • Hon Simone McGurk MLA, Minister for Prevention of Family and Domestic Violence
  • Hon Rita Saffioti MLA, Minister for Transport
  • Hon Sue Ellery MLC, Minister for Education and Training
  • Hon Peter Tinley MLA, Minister for Youth
These Ministers also have responsibilities for other portfolios; the full list is available here.

We look forward to working with the new government to continue to prevent alcohol-related harm among young people.
Until next time,
Danica Keric, McCusker Centre for Action on Alcohol and Youth

did you know?

Exposure to alcohol advertising influences young people’s beliefs and attitudes about drinking, and increases the likelihood adolescents will start to use alcohol and will drink more if they are already using alcohol.

Source: Alcohol advertising and young people [McCusker Centre factsheet]

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Proposal to Restrict WA Police Powers in Liquor Licensing Decisions

Prior to the election, the office of the former Minister for Racing and Gaming released a discussion paper with proposals that would restrict the ability of the Police Commissioner to intervene in liquor licence applications and allow the casino to sell takeaway alcohol.
Image of article in The West AustralianThe proposals were purported to follow the government’s response to the Liquor Control Act review in 2013-14. However, a number of the proposals had not been discussed publicly previously and are at odds with the recommendations of the review, which clearly stated that the ability of the Commissioner to intervene was a “fundamental aspect to addressing harm minimisation”.
The discussion paper was distributed to 11 alcohol industry groups, 13 government agencies and the McCusker Centre. McCusker Centre Executive Officer, Julia Stafford, said the timing and distribution of the discussion paper was odd, particularly because it contained amendments not previously raised publicly.
The McCusker Centre and National Drug Research Institute provided a response outlining our concerns about the proposals and the lack of transparent consultation, as did a range of other health and community groups. We don’t know whether the proposals will be progressed given the change in government, but we will continue to monitor the situation.
Want more?
Read media coverage.
Read our response to the discussion paper.


Party Like It's Payday...With Rum? New on DrinkTank

The Alcohol Advertising Review Board (AARB) received two complaints about outdoor ads for Captain Morgan Original Spiced Gold Rum with the very prominent message, “Party like it’s payday”; one ad was located on a phone box outside a Centrelink office.  Image of DrinkTank post
The complainants were concerned about the tagline linking drinking and payday. One complainant said, “The sign says “Party like its Payday” conveniently out the front of Centrelink where people go to get their fortnightly welfare payment. This is highly insensitive considering Australia’s alcohol issues are highly prevalent amount those on welfare benefits (I.e. Aboriginal, Low SEIFA). Teenagers are also exposed to this (i.e. those on Ab Study or Aus Study allowances).”
Hannah Pierce from the AARB wrote on DrinkTank, “Considering the substantial concerns about alcohol-related harms in Australia, including alcohol use among young people and vulnerable populations who are likely to visit Centrelink the placement of this ad is blatantly inappropriate.” The complaints were upheld by the AARB Panel.
What can I do?
If you see an alcohol ad that concerns you, let the AARB know. Every complaint the AARB receives is further evidence of the need for strong, independent, legislated controls on alcohol advertising in Australia. Visit and follow @AlcoholAdReview on Twitter to find out more.
Want more?
Read the post on DrinkTank.

Read the determination report by the AARB Panel.

Dan Murphy’s To Take Legal Action Against the NT Government

Dan Murphy’s has announced  it will take legal action against the Northern Territory government over a policy restricting the size of liquor outlets to 400m2. The policy, which the NT government implemented as part of delivering on its election commitment, prevented Dan Murphy’s from operating in the NT its current form (Dan Murphy’s planned to open a 1,800m2 store).Image of Dan Murphy's concept plans. Source: NT News
The move by Dan Murphy’s has been criticised by health experts. Dr John Boffa, from the People’s Alcohol Action Coalition, wrote on the blog DrinkTank, “There is a horrendous cost to cheap booze and the people of the Northern Territory already pay too high a price. We boast the highest proportion of deaths and hospitalisations attributable to alcohol in Australia. And we lead the nation in risky drinking.”
What can I do?
A review of NT’s liquor laws will commence in April 2017. The NT Government has released the draft terms of reference.  Once the review commences, it will be important to show support for the NT government’s actions to control the availability of alcohol and outline the evidence-based measures that we know work to prevent alcohol-related harms.
Want more?
Read media coverage; read Dr John Boffa’s opinion on DrinkTank.

Last-Drinks and Lockout Laws: New Research

Two new papers have been released addressing last-drink and lockout restrictions.
The NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research (BOCSAR) released a report on the effect of lockout and last drinks laws on non-domestic assaults in Sydney. Image of last-drinks and lockout laws papersThe report found that assaults increased in areas around the Kings Cross and Sydney CBD lockout precincts, but concluded that the reduction in Kings Cross and Sydney CBD far outweighed the observed increases in other sites. The paper estimated that there had been 613 fewer assaults over the 32-month follow-up in the Sydney CBD and 553 fewer assaults in the Kings Cross precinct, supporting the theory that overall there was a net reduction in violence during the 32-month post-reform period.
A paper published in the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health has estimated the public health gains and licensee costs of last-drink and lockout policies using a computer simulated population of 18-25 year-olds engaging in heavy drinking in Melbourne. The paper found that the most effective policy in reducing verbal aggression was 1am lockouts, regardless of last-drink time, with incidents decreasing by 17-25%. The study authors noted that this finding is not entirely consistent with the literature, which generally suggests that trading hour or last-drink restrictions are more effective than lockout policies, and that this may be related to the limitations of the study.
Want more?
Read the BOCSAR report.
Read the paper by Scott and colleagues in the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health.

Young Heavy Drinkers Buy Cheaper Alcohol: New Study

New research from New Zealand of young people aged 16-19 years shows that heavier drinkers buy lower priced alcohol. Findings include:
  • 20% drank 6 or more drinks at least once a week, and wereImage of paper by Wall and colleagues categorised as heavier drinkers for the study.
  • Heavier drinkers had more of their alcohol as ready-to-drink products (RTDs), especially high potency RTDs (>7% ABV), while lower drinkers drank more wine.
  • Heavier drinkers paid less than medium drinkers who paid less than lower drinkers. High potency RTDs were cheaper per unit of alcohol than other beverages and chosen by heavier drinkers, resulting in the lower prices paid by heavier drinkers than by lower drinkers.
Want more?
Read the paper by Wall and colleagues in the Drug and Alcohol Review.

New Research on Pre-Drinking

An international survey of over 65,000 16-35 year olds from 25 countries has shown that pre-drinking is a worldwide phenomenon.
The study, which investigated the impact on pre-drinking of the price of alcohol, the country-level tendency to drink, and the country-level tendency to drink heavily, found:
  • Image of a canPre-drinking levels ranged from 17.7% in Greece to 85.4% in Ireland. In Australia, an estimated 64.1% were pre-drinkers.
  • The difference in the price of off-premise (takeaway) and on-premise (e.g. in nightclubs) drinks ranged from 1.9 times greater in on-premise than off-premise in Columbia to 5.2 in Greece. In Australia, the cost of on-premise drinks was 2.1 times greater than the cost of off-premise drinks.
  • The price difference between on-premise and off-premise seemed to have an effect on pre-drinking in countries where heavy drinking was common.
Dr Jason Ferris from the University of Queensland was involved in the study and said that Australia fell within countries that have a lower price ratio, with drinking Australians happy to drink at home or pre-drink and then go out.

Want more?
Read media coverage.
Read the paper by Labhart and colleagues in Drug and Alcohol Review.

Alcohol in the News

Survey looks at alcohol management choices
The West Australian, 15 March 2017
Community appetite for a range of alcohol management options will be assessed in a survey released by the Town of Port Hedland.

Govt considers NT alcohol tax
NT News, 13 March 2017
The Gunner Government has revealed that a minimum floor price on alcohol is on the table as part of its alcohol policy review, despite its strong denials in the lead-up to the Territory election that it would be considered.
Drunken swimmers told to have a ‘designated driver’ after spike in drowning
Geelong Advertiser, 13 March 2017
Drunken swimmers have been told to have a ‘designated driver’ who watches over them, after a recent spike in Victorian drownings.
Dangerous drinking from a young age
Townsville Bulletin, 13 March 2017
Authorities have warned about the dangerous effect drinking has on young people after three children were taken to hospital after consuming large amounts of alcohol over the last fortnight.
Gordian Fulde: Inside St Vincent’s Hospital emergency room
Daily Telegraph, 12 March 2017
Alcohol-related fights and injuries are with us forever but…Since the lockout and other regulations came in, there have been no deaths, critical brain injuries, and much less surgery for broken limbs and faces, as reported from hospital sources.
Canberra’s alcohol hotspots targeted as Calvary Hospital records booze intake of emergency department patients
The Canberra Times, 7 March 2017
Calvary Hospital is recording Canberra’s alcohol hotspots and how much booze emergency patients are drinking in a groundbreaking trial aimed at curbing alcohol-fuelled violence.

The Facts

Good evidence is available about what works to prevent harm from alcohol:
  1. Making alcohol more expensive through a volumetric tax, a minimum price per standard drink and removal of the Wine Equalisation Tax (WET).
  2. Making alcohol less available through controls on the alcohol outlet density, days and opening hours. Controlled purchase operations, which support police to monitor and enforce existing laws which regulate the sale to minors, reduce young people’s access to alcohol.
  3. Curbs on all forms of alcohol advertising, promotion and sponsorship.
  4. Education approaches, including comprehensive, sustained and well-funded social marketing campaigns and well-supported alcohol and other drug education within the school curriculum.
Source: Alcohol and Young People: What works to prevent harm? [McCusker Centre fact sheet]
Alcohol Action Station aims to provide the WA community with the tools to take action to reduce harms from alcohol among young people. It is provided by the McCusker Centre for Action on Alcohol and Youth in association with the Injury Control Council of WA. You are receiving this email because you have subscribed to receive Alcohol Action Station fortnightly e‐newsletters and urgent bulletins.

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