Welcome to the Alcohol Action Station e-newsletter edition #12
Issue no. 12
In this Issue
  • Welcome to Alcohol Action Station
  • Did you know?
  • Government response to alcohol report
  • Speaking out about reducing alcohol-related harm in young people: new report
  • Investing in our Youth seminar: summary
  • Alcohol tax forum
  • October is Community Safety Month
  • New Event Management Toolkit
  • Alcohol in the Media
  • The Facts

Welcome to Alcohol Action Station

It has been a very eventful couple of weeks and we bring you a bumper edition of Alcohol Action Station to keep you in the loop.
On Wednesday 28 September, Dr Janet Woollard, Member for Alfred Cove, read into WA Parliament a Private Members Bill – the Liquor Control Amendment Bill 2011 – which seeks to do three things:
  1. Amend the Liquor Control Act 1988 to promote public health as a primary consideration for liquor licensing;
  2. Allow controlled purchase operations to enforce the prevention of the sale of alcohol to minors (Can’t remember what this is? see Alcohol Action Station edition #7); and
  3. To restrict the provision of alcohol to minors without parental consent (secondary supply).
These are important legislative measures to prevent harm from alcohol, particularly among young people. We will be closely watching the development of this Bill and will let you know of how you can be involved in supporting it.
Until next time,
Julia Stafford, McCusker Centre for Action on Alcohol and Youth
Mary Ashe, Injury Control Council of WA

did you know?

There are currently no controls in WA over the supply of alcohol to minors in private settings, such as homes (commonly referred to as ‘secondary supply’). There are secondary supply laws in New South Wales, Queensland, Tasmania and Victoria.

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Government Response to Alcohol Report

In edition 5 of Alcohol Action Station, we introduced the report of the Education and Health Standing Committee, Alcohol: Reducing the Harm and Curbing the Culture of Excess. The Committee made 60 recommendations to prevent and reduce harm from alcohol in WA, with action recommended in areas that would have a particular impact on alcohol-related harm among young people.
Thank you to everyone who responded to our call for action in edition 10 of Alcohol Action Station by showing your support for action on alcohol by contacting your local MP and key Ministers.
Last week, the WA Government tabled its responses to the recommendations. Many recommendations were ‘noted’ which means they will be considered
(e.g. when the Liquor Control Act next undergoes a major review); however, only 4 were specifically supported – these related to cost-recovery for police, introducing car alcohol ignition interlock devices for repeat drunk drivers, teacher training for alcohol and other drug issues and mandatory school education on alcohol and other drugs through the SDERA program (supported in principle).
What it means:
It is encouraging that the WA Government is supportive of some action on drink driving and mandatory alcohol and drug education in schools. There are however several important areas where the WA Government is not currently supportive of action, including:

  • Price controls
  • Reducing young people’s exposure to alcohol promotion
  • Replacing alcohol sponsorship of sport
  • Allowing ‘controlled purchase operations’ to identify liquor outlets which sell to minors
  • Secondary supply legislation to support parents in their responsibility for their child’s exposure to alcohol.
What happens now:
We keep at it – change will take time. We need to continue to find ways to communicate to government at all levels our concerns as community members and/or health professionals about alcohol and young people and our support for strong and effective action.
Don’t forget - it’s always a good time to let your local member of parliament know of your concerns about alcohol and young people and your support for strong and effective action on alcohol. As the elected representative of your local area, members of parliament want to know which issues are of concern to their constituents. They may not always support our views now, but we need to communicate with them for our issues to be on their agenda.
Want the full report?
Access the government’s full response at the WA Parliament website.
What do you think about these findings? We want to hear your views!

Speaking Out About Reducing Alcohol-Related Harm in Young People: New Report

Want to know what young people in WA think about alcohol?

Five young people recently presented the findings of a report by the Commissioner for Children and Young People, Michelle Scott, based on a consultation she commissioned with almost 300 young people in WA aged 14 to 17 years.
Young people involved in the consultation said a community-wide culture of alcohol and excessive drinking and the ready availability of alcohol were significant influences on their decisions about drinking.
The forum, organised by the Office of the Commissioner for Children and Young People, was co-hosted by the McCusker Centre for Action on Alcohol and Youth, the National Drug Research Institute and the Drug and Alcohol Office. In the Alcohol in the Media section below, you’ll find media coverage of the forum and report findings.
What it means:
Of principal concern to young people were harms relating to:
•      Violence
•      Damage to their reputation – e.g. images and gossip sent via social media
•      Impact of drink-driving
•      Looking after their friends who were intoxicated
•      Family conflict and violence.
Many factors influence young people’s decisions about drinking, including:
•      Parents
•      Friends
•      Availability of alcohol
•      Recreation and activities - having other things to do.
The most popular strategies to reduce alcohol-related harm among young people were:
•     Providing more alcohol-free activities
•     Harsher penalties for people who supply alcohol to underage young people
•     Increasing education about alcohol – at school and for parents/older siblings.
What happens now:
The consultation findings provide valuable information about the views of WA young people on alcohol to assist individuals and organisations to develop effective responses to reducing alcohol-related harm among young people.

Want the full report?
At the website of the Commissioner for Children and Young People, you’ll find the summary and full reports as well as presentations from the forum.

Investing in our Youth Seminar: Summary

Individuals and organisations active in the area of alcohol and young people in the South West of WA recently gathered for a solution focused seminar at the Roelands Mission, organised by Investing in our Youth Inc. Well done to Carmen from Investing in our Youth for organising such a successful forum!
The WA Police Commissioner, Dr Karl O’Callaghan spoke about the need to invest all along the spectrum for young people, particularly at the prevention end – for example, through sports clubs and youth workers – not just at the police end. The Commissioner noted the need for action on pricing strategies, with particular concern over the difference in price between alcohol sold at liquor stores compared to pubs, clubs and bars. He provided the WA community with a call for action by highlighting the need for community advocates (that’s all of us) to stir up the debate to encourage investment all along the spectrum for young people.
Bruce Clark represented the Leigh Clark Foundation which was established following Leigh’s death as a result of a massive alcohol overdose. Since this tragic event, Bruce Clark has been a passionate community advocate for secondary supply laws to make it illegal for people to supply alcohol to other people’s children in private settings. Bruce Clark is an inspiring example of how applying persistence in the face of obstacles and challenges can bring you closer to your goals.
Professor Mike Daube, MCAAY Director, outlined how we can all get involved in taking action on alcohol – be it as parents, young people, teachers, community organisations or community members, there is something we can all do. One of his key messages was to ‘stay with it’. For ideas on how you can get involved, visit
Rosemary White from the Alcohol Education & Rehabilitation Foundation (AERF) provided examples of alcohol and youth projects the AERF have funded. See for a database of projects. The word is that a new community engagement funding round will be announced soon so keep an eye on their website.

Alcohol Tax Forum

We told you we’d keep you informed of developments in regard to the government’s exclusion of alcohol as a topic for discussion in October’s tax forum. Well...since the federal government hasn’t budged and it’s an issue that’s too important to miss out, public health advocates organised a separate tax forum with a specific focus on alcohol.
Last week the Australian Medical Association hosted an Alcohol Tax Forum in Canberra on behalf of the National Alliance for Action on Alcohol.  Leading public health experts, including Professor Mike Daube, spoke at this forum as well as Federal Members of Parliament who attended the forum to discuss the alcohol tax reforms needed to reduce the harms from alcohol.
As we have reported previously, the current alcohol tax system does not consistently tax products according to their volume of alcohol or their potential to cause harm. Wine, cider and other fruit based products are the only alcohol products that are not taxed according to their volume of pure alcohol. The Wine Equalisation Tax (WET) and WET Rebate are contributing to the current wine glut in Australia which is further encouraging the production of cheap wine.  Interestingly, two of Australia’s major wine producers have now publicly supported getting rid of the WET and introducing a volumetric tax.
More info on the forum can be found here. The AERF recently released a report on the myths perpetuated by the Winemakers Federation of Australia about the impact of wine tax reform. Download it from the AERF website.

October is Community Safety Month

ICCWA launched community safety month at the Breakfast of Champions last Friday. This year ICCWA is working to promote safety messages for young people in WA.
Among the 22 Champions who were recognised for their contributions to reducing harm and promoting safety in our community was Susan Fuhrman from the West Coast Fever state netball team and the Australian Diamonds national team and Esben Kaas-Sorenson, Coordinator of the Anglicare Step 1 program. 
Susan was recognised for her work in raising awareness of alcohol-related harm through the media, including radio, online news, television, social-networking sites and video-sharing websites. Esben was recognised for his work with at risk homeless and street present young people in the Perth Inner City area.
There is a month’s worth of activities to raise awareness around community safety, so if you would like to get involved, whether through holding your own activities or simply participating in the activities that are already registered, get in touch with ICCWA to find out more.

New Event Management Toolkit

The Tertiary Alcohol Program at the University of WA Health Promotion Branch recently launched an Event Management Toolkit.  The kit has been designed to assist event managers to develop safe drinking environments at events and to do everything possible to meet their duty of care to guests. The kit covers a broad range of alcohol related event management issues, including the health and social effects of alcohol misuse, the importance of managing alcohol at events held on and off campus, liquor licensing, serving alcohol responsibly and the University’s event  management process.
Supported by the Department of Health and Ageing Drug Strategy Branch, UWA’s Registrar’s Office and Local Drug Action Groups Inc., more information about the kit can be obtained here.

Alcohol in the Media

Don’t forget - if you see a relevant article in your local newspaper, please send it our way.
Expert demands action on underage binge drinking
ABC News, 30 September 2011
Everyday in Western Australia one person under the age of 18 gets so blind drunk an ambulance is called.

Measures on alcohol abuse knocked back
The West Australian, 28 September 2011
The State Government has rejected anti-drunkenness measures recommended by Parliament’s health committee, including banning people under 20 from buying takeaway liquor and outlawing cut-price alcohol.
Alcohol action groups want wine tax change
Sydney Morning Herald, 27 September 2011
An alliance of health and social groups and academics is calling for the government to reconsider how it taxes all alcohol, especially wine.
Call for debate on new drinking age
The West Australian, 23 September 2011
The West Australian Commissioner for Children and Young People wants a public debate on lifting the drinking age to 21 after a report revealed young people’s attitudes to alcohol.
Alcohol in ‘all parts of our culture’
The West Australian, 23 September 2011
Year 12 students Rickelle Kenny and Lawrence Considine say alcohol is hard to avoid, with drinking a part of every aspect of Australian culture from social events and celebrations to funerals.

The Facts

  1. Australia ranks 35th in the world for per capita alcohol consumption rates, yet WA would place 10th on this ranking.
  2. The current alcohol tax system does not consistently tax products according to their volume of alcohol or their potential to cause harm.
  3. 40% of red wine and 36% of white wine sold through bottle-shops and liquor wholesalers is sold for less than $6 a bottle.
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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