Alcohol policy national scorecard rankings released for governments across Australia

Posted by AFN Staff Writers on 12th January 2015
Alcohol policy national scorecard rankings released for governments across Australia
Alcohol policy national scorecard rankings released for governments across Australia

The majority of Australian jurisdictions scored “well below” a pass grade in alcohol policy in an annual national scorecard, with the Australian Federal Government scoring the lowest, and the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) the highest.

The rankings were issued by the National Alliance of Action on Alcohol (NAAA), a coalition of Australian health and community organisations that was formed with the goal of reducing alcohol-related harm. Federal, State and Territory Governments are ranked according to what policies they have implemented to minimise harm from alcohol consumption.

For the second year running the Australian Federal Government received the annual ‘Fizzers’ award from the NAAA for its inaction in developing and implementing alcohol policy in 2014.

Representing more than 70 organisations, NAAA was formed in 2009 to strengthen and improve policies that prevent alcohol-related harm and in 2013, the alliance introduced the National Alcohol Policy Scorecard to assess the policy response of Australian jurisdictions.

Canberra scores the highest

The ACT government remained on top for the second year, and was awarded the highest score overall (48 per cent) on the National Alcohol Policy Scorecard by the NAAA.

Australian Federal Government score drops

The Australian Federal Government’s performance was very poor, scoring the lowest result overall (9 per cent) on the national scorecard, a drop of 20 percent from last year.

Professor Mike Daube, Co-Chair of the NAAA and Public Health Association of Australia alcohol spokesperson was disappointed with the overall results of the 2014 National Alcohol Policy Scorecard.

“The majority of jurisdictions again did not score well this year for their alcohol policies, with all scoring below a pass grade (less than 50 per cent),” Professor Daube said. “The Australian Government was by far the lowest performing jurisdiction in the country and in recognition of this has received the 2014 Fizzers award,” he said.

Australian Government falling behind is ‘disappointing’

Professor Daube said it was “disappointing” that the Australian Government was falling “even further behind the rest of the country when it comes to developing and implementing evidence-based policies that reduce alcohol-related harm”.

Professor Daube said the Australian Government’s low score largely reflected the “lack of action and deep funding cuts in a number of key alcohol policy areas”.

“The most critical shortcomings include the lack of a national alcohol strategy since 2010, and inaction in the areas of alcohol taxation, regulation of alcohol marketing, and labelling of alcohol products,” Professor Daube said. “Other backward steps also include the Government’s dismantling of a number of key advisory groups such as the Alcohol and Other Drugs Council of Australia (ADCA) and the Australian National Preventative Health Agency (ANPHA) and ending the Be The Influence sports sponsorship program,” he said.

NSW ‘most improved’ jurisdiction

The NAAA said New South Wales was the ‘most improved’ jurisdiction, increasing its rating from 10 per cent to 41 per cent.

The NAAA said the rating reflected major reforms introduced by the NSW Government during 2014, including the introduction of 1:30am lockouts and 3:00am last drinks in Sydney’s CBD.

Australian Food News reported in January 2014 that NSW had also introduced bans on the sale of shots after midnight and a state-wide 10pm closing time for all bottle shops.

Scorecard by jurisdiction

Rank Jurisdiction Total points achieved Total possible points Final score (%)
1 ACT 13.5 28 48
2 WA 12 28 45
3 NSW 11.5 28 41
4 VIC 11.5 28 41
5 TAS 10 28 36
6 QLD 9 28 32
7 NT 8.5 28 30
8 SA 8.5 28 30
9 FEDERAL 2.5 27 9