Skewed Strategy skewered
15 March 2018
Brewers Association of Australia
BEREFT of scientific rigour while making unsubstantiated claims, the draft National Alcohol Strategy ignores fact and evidence to be driven by dogma.
Of its 64 footnotes, only 10 are peer-reviewed and just four of those are from the last five years. It even cites media reports as evidence.
By contrast, the Brewers Association’s submission quotes 187 scientific and factual references exposing the seismic faults in the misguided draft and debunking the bunkum within.
The draft Strategy is even at odds with its stated aim of a “10% reduction in harmful alcohol consumption”. Instead, it proposes population-wide reductions in consumption that disproportionately target low to moderate consumers.
Evidence consistently shows that this population-wide approach does not equate to reducing alcohol harms.
The draft Strategy is intellectually dishonest and completely out-of-step with community expectations.
Many of its policy prescriptions are based on questionable, discredited or cherry-picked research. Meanwhile, scant acknowledgment is given to official government data demonstrating consistent improvements in Australia’s drinking culture over the last 40-plus years.
These include consumption per capita falling decade on decade since the 1970s and underage drinking continuing a steep decline, with 82% of 12-17 year-olds abstaining in 2016, compared to 54.3% in 2004.
The draft Strategy explicitly seeks to exclude industry from all future consultation and denies the sector a seat on the proposed Alcohol Reference Group, despite industry-led initiatives that effectively target alcohol harms through DrinkWise Australia and the Alcohol Beverages Advertising Code.
If a workable, evidence-based National Alcohol Strategy is to be achieved, industry needs to be a partner, not ostracised.
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