Welcome to Alcohol Action Station e-newsletter edition #67
Issue no. 67
In this Issue
  • Welcome to Alcohol Action 
  • Did you know?
  • NSW Premier Tackles Alcohol-Related Violence
  • NSW Poll: Community Support is Strong for Action
  • Australia Day Honours 2014
  • What’s New on DrinkTank?
  • Alcohol in the Media
  • The FACTS

Welcome to Alcohol Action Station

Alcohol and how to address alcohol-related problems have been hot topics around Australia lately. There is a real push from the community for governments, both State and Federal, to tackle alcohol-related problems in our society.
As a result of the overwhelming community concern, the NSW Premier announced a range of measures designed to tackle alcohol-related violence in Sydney’s CBD (more on this below).
Building on the announcement by the NSW Premier, the Australian Medical Association (AMA) has called for a National Summit to discuss whole-of-government solutions to address alcohol problems on a national level, because alcohol misuse affects all communities, all across the country. 
Speaking at the AMA press conference, Professor Brian Owler said, “We see the glassing’s. We see the fractured jaws. We see multiple other injuries. But it’s not just about the violence that happens out on the streets of Sydney or our other capital cities, it’s actually about how alcohol-related violence comes into our own homes. We see almost as many cases of domestic violence where alcohol is a strong factor”.
AMA President, Dr Steve Hambleton, said that a broad review of the harms of alcohol misuse in the community is needed, including an inquiry into alcohol marketing (especially the exposure to young people) and an examination of the impacts on the health system.
Read more about the AMA’s call for a National Summit on DrinkTank.
Until next time,
Danica Keric, McCusker Centre for Action on Alcohol and Youth
Megan DePiazz, Injury Control Council WA 

did you know?

Up to 1 in 3 attendances in Australian and New Zealand Emergency Departments are alcohol related.
Source: Australasian College for Emergency Medicine, 2013 Emergency physicians plead: ‘think before you drink’.

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NSW Premier Tackles Alcohol-Related Violence

The NSW Government has proposed a set of major changes to a range of liquor licensing and sentencing laws in Sydney’s CBD as a result of the media storm and community concern following the attack on Daniel Christie and his subsequent death. Barry O'Farrell
Measures announced by the NSW Premier Berry O’Farrell send the message that it’s time to stop this senseless violence.

The proposed measures include:
  • Lockouts from 1.30am (small bars and restaurants are exempt)
  • 3am end to bar sales in the Sydney CBD and Kings Cross
  • State-wide 10pm closing time for bottleshops and liquor stores
  • Venues will be subject to a risk-based licensing scheme whereby venues deemed to be high risk will be required to pay higher fees
  • Mandatory minimum sentencing of 8 years in jail will apply to alcohol-related coward-punch deaths.
  • Freeze on granting new licenses
  • Increased on-the-spot fines for anti-social behaviour
  • Social media and advertising education campaign targeted at alcohol fuelled violence
In announcing the measures, Mr O’Farrell said he had “heard the community’s call for action...the community wants strong action and the NSW Government intends to deliver it,” he said.  
Want more?

Read the media statement from NSW Premier, Lockouts and mandatory minimums to be introduced to tackle drug and alcohol violence [PDF 167 KB]. 
Read Professor Peter Miller’s piece on the Conversation, NSW response to alcohol-related violence is an important first step 
Read the Lord Mayor of Sydney’s piece on DrinkTank, New measures to tackle drug and alcohol-fuelled violence
Read media coverage of the measures 

What do you think? Let us know your thoughts at

NSW Poll: Community Support is Strong for Action 

Prior to the NSW Government’s announcement of a set of measures designed to tackle alcohol-related violence in the Sydney CBD, the Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education conducted a poll in NSW to find out the level of community support for different measures. Key findings include: working together
  • The majority (67%) of NSW adults indicated that it is unsafe in built-up areas of the city or the centre of town on a Saturday night.
  • Of the NSW adults who felt it was unsafe, a vast majority (94%) indicated that people affected by alcohol made the city or town unsafe.
  • The majority of NSW adults support 12 policies to reduce alcohol-related violence in NSW. These include increasing penalties for people involved in alcohol-related violence (89%), stopping the sale of alcohol 30 minutes before closing time (77%) and a closing time for pubs, clubs and bars of no later than 3am (71%).
  • The majority (69%) of NSW adults support the introduction of the Newcastle model across NSW, which includes 3am closing times and 1am lockouts.
Want more?
Check out the full report at FARE [PDF 64 KB].

Australia Day Honours

Professor Mike Daube, Director of the McCusker Centre for Action on Alcohol and Youth, has been recognised in the Australia Day 2014 Honours List. Officer of the Order of Australia
Prof Daube was recognised with an Officer of the Order of Australia award (AO) for distinguished service to medicine, particularly in the area of public health policy and reform, through advisory roles with leading national and international organisations, and to youth.
Professor Edward (Ted) Wilkes of the National Drug Research Institute was also recognised with an Officer of the Order of Australia award (AO) for his role in public health policy, and particularly for his distinguished service to the Indigenous community as a leading researcher in the area of public health and welfare, to youth in WA. 

Winthrop Professor D’Arcy Holman was recognised with a Member of the Order of Australia award (AM) for major contributions for work on alcohol, and in particular for significant service to medicine in the field of epidemiology and public health.

Congratulations to them all!  

What’s New on DrinkTank?

DrinkTank is an online blog that aims to generate meaningful commentary and debate about alcohol policy, and to provide a platform for all members of the Australian community to share their views and concerns.
Some recent (and very interesting!) articles on DrinkTank include:
Remember, you can share your views and contribute to the discussion by writing a piece for DrinkTank - contact DrinkTank to find out more.

Alcohol in the Media

Byron Hospital staff keeping own records of alcohol admissions
ABC News, 30 January 2014
Staff at Byron Bay Hospital’s emergency department are taking it upon themselves to record whether alcohol is a factor in admissions. 

Lifting age limit won’t work: Greens
The Australian, 27 January 2014
Raising the legal age of alcohol consumption will drive binge drinking underground and punish responsible drinkers, NSW Greens MP John Kaye says.
Lift drinking age, urges Royal Australasian College of Physicians chief
Sydney Morning Herald, 27 January 2014
The state government’s radical alcohol reforms will be undermined unless the legal drinking age is raised to 20 and alcohol advertising is reined in, the incoming chief of the Royal Australasian College of Physicians says.
Calls to use teens in bottleshop ‘stings’
Newcastle Herald, 24 January 2014
A former NSW Health official who lobbied the NSW government to use teenagers to “sting” bottle shop retailers who sell alcohol to minors has a simple message for NSW Premier Barry O’Farrell.
Queensland opposition backs the Newcastle solution
Canberra Times, 24 January 2014
While the Premier wants to protect the rights of young people to “sow their wild oats”, the opposition has cut to the chase in the debate on trading hours for entertainment districts, telling the government to “just do it”.
O’Farrell plan a good start – now for the implementation
Sydney Morning Herald, 24 January 2014
The NSW government’s tough measures to tackle alcohol-fuelled assaults are only the first step in a long process to change Australia’s corrosive culture of excessive drinking associated with violence.
Youth hospitalised for alcohol withdrawal
The West Australian, 23 January 2014
People in their early 20s are fronting emergency departments with alcohol withdrawal symptoms so severe they require hospitalisation, doctors say.
Chains get liquor outlets in Busselton
The West Australian, 23 January 2014
The Liquor Commission has rejected an appeal by Busselton licensees to stop two new liquor stores opening in the area, saying they were only objecting to protect their commercial interests.
AMA calls for national summit on alcohol
The Australian, 23 January 2014
Emergency doctors who spend their weekends dealing with victims of drunken violence have called on the federal government to follow NSW’s momentum in tackling alcohol-related harm.
Barry O’Farrell announces ‘tough’ laws to combat alcohol-fuelled violence
Sydney Morning Herald, 21 January 2014
Pubs and clubs in Sydney’s CBD will be forced to lock out new customers from 1.30am and cease alcohol trading by 3am under a state government crackdown on alcohol- and drug-related violence.
Greens push for alcohol abuse inquiry gets Australian Medical Association support
Sydney Morning Herald, 19 January 2014
The government will be asked to consider increasing the cost of alcohol, and imposing labelling restrictions on suppliers, as part of a wide-ranging inquiry into Australia’s alcohol problem being pushed by Greens.

The Facts

A recent survey of Australian university students aimed to estimate the prevalence of, and identify factors associated with, alcohol-related problems among undergraduate hazardous drinkers. Findings include:
  1. The most frequent non-academic problems included hangovers (75%), blackouts (45%) and drink-driving (23%).
  2. 45% reported that their drinking had impacted negatively on their learning or grades.
  3. 26% of participants had missed a class and/or had been unable to concentrate in class.
Source: Hallett, et al. Academic and personal problems among Australian university students who drink at hazardous levels: web-based survey. Health Promotion Journal of Australia (24)(3) 170-171. 
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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