Welcome to Alcohol Action Station e-newsletter edition #30
Issue no. 30
In this Issue
  • welcome to alcohol action station
  • did you know?
  • Review of the Liquor Control Act
  • Alcohol and sports sponsorship: triple J Hack
  • new report: australia's health 2012
  • seen an alcohol ad that didn't sit right with you?
  • alcohol in the media
  • the facts

Welcome to Alcohol Action Station

“Soaring levels of drunken violence in Fremantle have prompted calls for a mobile police station to be set up in the city’s entertainment area on weekends”. This was the opening sentence of a recent news article about concerns over increased violence in Fremantle’s entertainment district.
According to the news article, police statistics show violence at or near licensed venues in Fremantle has risen by 56% in the last financial year. A local shop owner was quoted as saying, “The streets are packed and there is fighting and people drunk everywhere and vomiting”.
Not surprisingly, this is a cause of concern for local businesses, the Fremantle Chamber of Commerce and the City of Fremantle. And what did they propose as the answer? More police patrols on Friday and Saturday nights, more undercover police and more night-time security patrols.
Clearly we need a strong law enforcement response to behaviour of this kind, but is sending in more police alone a band-aid solution which does not address other factors at play?
Late last year, the City of Fremantle and local businesses (restaurants) pushed for relaxed restaurant drinking laws which allowed restaurants with liquor licences to operate like small bars for the Sailing World Championships (see SMH article). Earlier this year, the City of Fremantle “paved the way for more small bars” by amending its planning scheme to allow existing restaurants, shops and offices to transform into bars without seeking local planning approvals (see WA Today article).
While a mix of venue types can be a good thing within an entertainment area, if the overall outcome of these ‘relaxed laws’ and ‘more efficient’ licensing processes is the increased availability of alcohol, then we should not be surprised to see alcohol-related harms increasing as well.
Research shows that increasing the availability of alcohol within a region increases alcohol‐related problems in the community.
Once again we have cause to reflect on what we want our night time economy to look like. If we’re not willing to accept drunken violence in our entertainment districts, then better controls on access to alcohol may be part of the answer.  
Until next time,
Julia Stafford, McCusker Centre for Action on Alcohol and Youth
Elecia Wheat, Injury Control Council of WA

did you know?

29% of Australians think there are too many alcohol outlets in their neighbourhood.

Source: FARE Annual Alcohol Poll.

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Review of the Liquor Control Act

In response to a recent Parliamentary Question in the WA Upper House from the Hon Linda Savage MLC, the Leader of the House, the Hon Simon O’Brien MLC, representing the Minister for Racing and Gaming, made a commitment that a major review of the Liquor Control Act will be established towards the end of 2012.
This followed a letter from the WA Alcohol and Youth Action Coalition to WA Members of Parliament seeking support for action to introduce mandatory alcohol and drug education in WA schools, secondary supply legislation and controlled purchase legislation which would enable police to act on illegal sales to minors. Each of these areas will be considered as part of a review of the Liquor Control Act.
We will keep you updated on further details of the review and how to contribute as they are announced.

Alcohol and Sports Sponsorship: Triple J Hack

Following on from the Australian Government’s recent announcement of a $25 million sponsorship program to provide an alternative to alcohol sponsorship of sport (check out our last edition for a recap), youth radio station Triple J devoted a whole Hack program to alcohol and sports sponsorship. Following an interview with McCusker Centre Director, Professor Mike Daube, there was a discussion between Michael Thorn (CEO, Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education) and the Director of Corporate Relations at Carlton United Brewers (CUB – the makers of VB and Carlton Draught). 
Download the podcast here.
What the health experts said:
  • Alcohol advertising impacts on young people.
  • Research shows 68% of the community believe alcohol advertising influences the behaviour of people under 18 years.
  • Through sports sponsorship, children associate their sporting heroes with alcohol.
  • Alcohol companies promote a whole lifestyle around alcohol – this influences how alcohol is represented in the community.
  • The Australian Government’s $25 million sponsorship program is a good start, and it would be great to see the government move to replace alcohol sponsorship in AFL, NRL and cricket.
  • Advertising is just one component when looking at strategies to reduce alcohol consumption and related harm - price and availability also need to be addressed.
What the Director of Corporate Relations at CUB said:
  • CUB advertises at sport because the overwhelming majority of people who watch sport are adult males.
  • CUB’s ads are highly responsible, with a strong code that makes sure ads don’t promote irresponsible consumption of alcohol or imply success.
  • CUB doesn’t believe that their advertising encourages excessive consumption of alcohol – advertising is about brand choice.
Did you listen to the program? We’d love to hear your thoughts.

New Report: Australia’s Health 2012

The Australia’s Health 2012 report is a comprehensive look at health in Australia, including levels of alcohol consumption.
Key findings:
  • Alcohol is a causal factor in about 60 types of disease and injuries.
  • In 2010, 1 in 5 people aged 14+ were at risk of alcohol-related harm over their lifetime, and 2 in 5 were at risk of harm from a single drinking occasion in the past 12 months.
  • 30% of young people aged 16 – 17 years consumed alcohol at levels that put them at risk of harm from a single occasion of drinking at least once a month.
  • People aged 18 – 24 were more likely than any other age group to drink alcohol in risky quantities, with 31% doing so on a weekly basis.
  • Alcohol is the 6th highest risk factor in contributing to the burden of disease in Australia – an estimated 2% of the total burden of disease was attributable to excessive alcohol consumption.
  • About 13% of recent drinkers admitted to driving under the influence of alcohol.
  • In 2010, 51% of pregnant women had consumed alcohol at least once during pregnancy. This was down from 60% of women in 2007.
Want to find out more? Read the full report here.

Seen An Alcohol Ad That Didn’t Sit Right With You?

AARB imageIf you’ve seen an alcohol advertisement that didn’t sit right with you, contact the Alcohol Advertising Review Board.
It may be an advertisement on a billboard you drive past, a bus shelter within 500m of a school, on TV at a time that children would be watching, in a newspaper or magazine, on the radio or at the cinema, on the side of a bus...or it may be an advertisement that you believe would appeal to young people, encourages irresponsible drinking or associates alcohol with sexual or sporting success. Have a look at the Alcohol Advertising Review Board Code which sets some criteria for acceptable alcohol advertising.
Visit the Alcohol Advertising Review Board website for more info.

Alcohol in the Media

Positive step deserves praise
Community News, 5 July 2012
Guest editorial by Professor Mike Daube: An important breakthrough has been made in the campaign to change young people’s attitudes to alcohol. It came recently when the Federal Ministers for Sport and Mental Health announced that the Government would sponsor 12 national sports to promote anti-binge drinking messages, with the proviso that they would refuse alcohol sponsorship.
Wheatbelt’s alcohol shame
Avon Valley Gazette, 9 July 2012
WA Drug and Alcohol Office figures show Wheatbelt residents are 18 per cent more likely to be hospitalised for alcohol abuse, compared with the average across all of WA.
Minimum booze price plan to end discounting (PDF 59KB)
The West Australian, 3 July 2012
The Federal Government is considering a minimum retail price for alcohol which would wipe out massive discounting and stop wine being sold for a few dollars a litre. The plan, open for public comment until the end of the month, is unlikely to affect premium and moderately priced alcohol but could see the price of some cask and bottled wine quadruple.
Holidays in Bali a risky affair for WA tourists
The West Australian, 3 July 2012
West Australians holidaying in Bali are putting their health, safety and finances at risk by binge drinking, riding scooters without helmets and failing to take out adequate travel insurance. Nearly half of WA travellers in Bali said they were more likely to binge drink while visiting the popular island destination than when they were at home.
Schools to be surveyed on drug education
ABC Online, 2 July 2012
High school principals say there needs to be a renewed focus on alcohol and drug education in schools across Australia. A Victorian program which teaches school students how to deal with alcohol and illicit drugs is being held up as an example of what can be achieved when the issue is slotted into the school curriculum.
Greater risk of harmful drinking in rural areas
ABC Online, 2 July 2012
The National Rural Health Alliance says boredom and isolation are pushing many people in regional areas to drink at high risk levels. The alliance's director Gordon Gregory says people in rural and remote areas are 32 per cent more likely than their city counterparts to drink to levels that risk causing lifetime harm.

Thugs lift fears in Fremantle (PDF 780KB)
The Weekend West, 30 June 2012
Soaring levels of drunken violence in Fremantle have prompted calls for a mobile police station to be set up in the city’s entertainment area on weekends. Police statistics show that nondomestic assaults in Fremantle have increased 14 per cent this financial year, while violence at or near licensed venues has risen by 56 per cent.
Obese, lazy, drunk, but less at risk than most
The Australian, 27 June 2012
Australians are drinking too much, eating too much and exercising too little and we're lagging behind the best in the developed world on three of the four key risk factors linked to death and disability.
Homer’s beer deal falls flat (PDF 1.1MB)
The West Australian, 27 June 2012
A Perth businessman was forced to throw out hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of beer made famous in The Simpsons television show after 20th Century Fox took legal action against him over copyright. The brew, from the Eschwege monastery brewery and available in cans and bottles, bears a striking resemblance to the fictional brand of Duff Beer in The Simpsons.
Cops get more clout to tackle wild parties (PDF 790KB)
The West Australian, 26 June 2012
The State Government is drafting legislation to allow police to enter properties where parties have spiralled out of control but WA Police Commissioner Karl O’Callaghan said such laws would not address social issues fuelling the problem.

The Facts

  1. 30% of young people aged 16-17 years consumed alcohol at levels that put them at risk of harm from a single occasion of drinking at least once a month.
  2. People aged 18-24 were more likely than any other age group to drink alcohol in risky quantities, with 31% doing so on a weekly basis.
  3. About 13% of recent drinkers admitted to driving under the influence of alcohol.
Source: AIHW 2012. Australia's Health 2012.

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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