OUR POLICY PRIORITIES
The overwhelming majority of Queenslanders believe that Australia has a problem with alcohol (76 per cent), and that more needs to be done to address alcohol-related harms (70 per cent). Despite this, they do not conceive that these problems will be addressed anytime soon, with 81 per cent believing that alcohol-related problems will worsen or at best remain the same over the next 10 years.
The people of Queensland know all too well that alcohol can have devastating effects, with 35 per cent having been affected by alcohol-related violence. Queensland hospitals across the state are experiencing the burden caused by alcohol; in 2012 there were 91,783 alcohol-related emergency department presentations, an increase of 31 per cent from 2007.
QCAA acknowledges that no single strategy will reduce harms, and so instead a range of evidence-based strategies addressing alcohol-related issues are required to achieve the best possible outcomes.
QCAA’s policy priorities are focused on four areas where the Queensland Government can have the greatest influence in reducing alcohol-related harms.
Access & availability
There are too many liquor licenses in Queensland with around one license for every 600 people. Reducing the availability of alcohol through reduced trading hours, reduced outlets and improved responsible service of alcohol will reduce harms of alcohol.
One of the key drivers of increased alcohol consumption is that it is at its most affordable now than it has been in three decades, and there is strong evidence that indicates the price of alcohol affects its consumption. When it costs more, people tend to drink less. Especially with young people, there is a marked decrease in heavy drinkers when they know that the money could be better spent elsewhere.
Strong investment in prevention and health promotion is vital to ensure that the general public is aware of the risks associated with consuming alcohol. By engaging a range of evidence based alcohol prevention approaches we can significantly reduce harm in the community.
The most significant government intervention to address low alcohol prices is tax and the establishment of minimum pricing policies. The Commonwealth Government is best placed to set the alcohol taxation rates at levels that minimise the harms caused by alcohol. However, there is also a role for states and territories to use their powers to prevent excessive discounting and promotion of alcohol products.