Given the seriousness of the devastation of alcohol harm, the ACT Government is to be commended for its commitment to tackling this problem in the ACT, evident in the Draft Strategy Action Plan (the Action Plan). Given the delay in the National Alcohol Strategy – missing in action since 2011 – it is crucial that the ACT shows strong leadership in the area and ensures that the health of the ACT community is supported through action on alcohol. Simultaneously, it is important that the ACT is ready to join with others at a national level, and it is pleasing to see that the Action Plan aligns with the National Drug Strategy and with the draft National Alcohol Strategy (due to be finalised before the end of the year).
While FARE is strongly supportive of the Action Plan overall, FARE has identified a number of ways in which the Action Plan should be strengthened.
1. The Action Plan must be ACT-specific
- The Action Plan must be anchored in the ACT, with more context-driven actions and a focus on ACT data.
- The Action Plan should aim to establish high quality data collection to be continued long-term.
2. The Action Plan should commit to new actions and move towards implantation
- In areas that already have an established evidence base, the Action Plan should move directly to implementation.
3. The Action Plan should outline specific actions and targets under each theme
- The Action Plan should outline specific actions and targets under each area, to be evaluated by the expert Advisory Group
4. The Action Plan should ensure that supply is addressed in a meaningful way
- The Action Plan should ensure that actions related to the supply of alcohol are included in the Action Plan.