Reining in the rabid dogma
1 July 2018
Brewers Association of Australia
July-August 2018 Edition
FEDERAL and State Government agreement that the draft National Alcohol Strategy (NAS) is out-of-whack, needs further consultation and must include industry, recognises some fundamental home truths.
All in alcohol are committed to minimising alcohol-related harms. Moderate consumption has been a cornerstone of industry marketing for decades and consumers have responded.
Every official government measure is in decline and has been for decades – be it consumption per capita, underage drinking, women drinking while pregnant and binge drinking, either on a single occasion or over a lifetime.
Yet, in an ideological bubble pumped up by the self-righteousness of would-be social engineers, the draft NAS explicitly sought to exclude industry from all future consultation and pointedly denied the sector a seat on the proposed Alcohol Reference Group.
Blinded by bias, this ignored successful industry initiatives that target alcohol harms through DrinkWise Australia and the Alcohol Beverages Advertising Code.
That health ministers appreciate the inherent practical sense of partnering with industry gives us some hope that the rabid dogma unleashed by bureaucrats in the draft NAS can be brought to heel.
The final NAS must stand upon credible research and detailed analysis to inform public policy. Evidence consistently shows that the punitive population-wide approach adopted in the draft NAS fails to reduce alcohol harms.
Striking a workable balance between those at risk of harms and the vast majority of Australians who consume alcohol responsibly means dealing with problem drinkers through interventions relevant to them and their circumstances.
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