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"More to be done on alcohol": calls for change as 37,00 queenslanders are hospitalised each year

Updated: Oct 12, 2020

Queensland health and community leaders are calling on political leaders to put the health of their communities first by supporting evidence-based alcohol policies.

While commending the live-saving measures introduced by the Government to reduce late-night alcohol harms, experts say there is more to be done to respond to the heavy toll imposed by alcohol on the people of Queensland.

Queensland Coalition for Action on Alcohol chair Emeritus Professor Jake Najman said that around 1 in 3 people exceed the current National Health and Medical Research Council guidelines to reduce single occasion risk of alcohol-related harm and people often do not recognise that this is damaging to their health.

“While most Australians associate illnesses such as cirrhosis of the liver and liver cancer associated with alcohol use, fewer Australians are aware of the link between alcohol use and heart disease (54%), stroke (41%), mouth and throat cancer (29%) and breast cancer (16%). A small number of people (5%) are unaware that alcohol is linked with any of the conditions mentioned above.” Emeritus Professor Najman said.

“Alcohol is second only to tobacco in preventable causes of hospitalisation and death in Australia. Each year alcohol is associated with 1,300 deaths and 37,000 hospitalisations in Queensland.”

“Consumers have a right to be accurately informed about risks associated with alcohol, just like any other products of the food and beverage industry. 4 out of 5 consumers believe that Australians have a right to know about alcohol related harms.”

The Queensland Coalition for Action on Alcohol (QCAA) has today unveiled its 2020 election platform to ensure QLD politicians continue to support decisions in the best interests of the community and adopt the most effective measures to reduce alcohol harm. Queensland political parties have been asked to state their position on each of the policy proposals in the Platform.

If adopted, the QCAA’s 5 Point Plan would see the incoming government develop and initiate a comprehensive, evidence-based community campaign on the direct link between alcohol consumption and chronic disease including up to seven types of cancer, mental health and heart disease.

The other QCAA Election Priorities are:

• To tighten monitoring controls for responsible service of alcohol sold online

• Implement a complete ban of alcohol advertising on government buildings immediately

• Advocate for a nationally consistent minimum unit price

• Maintain the Tackling Alcohol Fuelled Violence measures across Qld and end take-away sales of alcohol at 10pm.

Emeritus Professor Najman believes Queensland politicians would also do well to remember that 70 per cent of voters do not want the alcohol industry to be involved in the development of alcohol policy due to their conflict of interest.

Drug Awareness & Relief Foundation (Australia) Chief Advocate, Dr Dennis Young AM says all of the parties contesting the 2020 QLD election should remember that measures to reduce harm from alcohol are not only necessary, but also hugely popular.

“With 75 per cent of Queenslanders believing that more needs to be done to reduce alcohol related harms, it’s clear that the community is eager for the incoming government to put the health of Queenslanders first and implement effective, evidence-based alcohol policies.” Dr Young AM said.

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QCAA Election Platform 2020
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