NSW has thirst for alcohol reforms

Polling released today has shown that the New South Wales (NSW) community is united in its desire for action to tackle alcohol-related problems.

Released ahead of a community forum to discuss alcohol-fuelled violence in Kings Cross, the polling shows that 77 per cent of adults in NSW believe more needs to be done to reduce alcohol harms.

80 per cent of NSW adults believe NSW, along with the rest of the country, has a problem with excess drinking and alcohol abuse. The polling also shows that there is also a perception that neither government, the alcohol industry or pubs and clubs are doing enough to address the problem.

Commissioned by the Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education and conducted by Galaxy Research, today’s report, NSW Community Attitudes and Behaviours, contains previously unreleased data specific to NSW residents taken from the FARE 2012 Annual Alcohol Poll.

Chief Executive Michael Thorn will be one of a number of speakers, including experts and residents, who will respond to the O’Farrell Government’s proposed measures to reduce alcohol related violence and anti-social behaviour in Kings Cross at a meeting in Sydney on Thursday evening.

Michael Thorn says that on the issue of alcohol reform, the NSW Government risks falling out of step with community expectations.

“This polling makes clear that that an overwhelming majority of NSW adults understand the magnitude of the problem and stand united in calling for strong action to reduce the harms of alcohol-related harms. Such strong support presents the NSW Premier, who already enjoys a clear mandate to govern, with an historic opportunity to show leadership and introduce effective reforms,” Mr Thorn said.

The polling also showed that 1.7 million adults in NSW (34%) had been affected by alcohol-related violence, including 14 per cent who had been victims and 23 per cent who have had a family member or friend affected.

Not surprisingly, the polling also showed that violence was one of the three alcohol-related problems that people in NSW (75%) are most concerned about together with road traffic accidents and child abuse and neglect.

The NSW Community Attitudes and Behaviours snapshot also paints a picture of drinking behaviours and attitudes across the State. Almost 1.5 million NSW drinkers (37%) drink alcohol to get drunk, with 13 per cent doing so at least once a week.

Mr Thorn says the report highlights that alcohol use and misuse is not restricted to one geographical location, or just one section of the population, and again called on the Premier to adopt the evidence-based measures proposed by FARE.

“This is a complex problem that demands a comprehensive evidence-based solution and I welcome the opportunity to meet with the NSW Premier to discuss FARE’s 10 Point Plan to Reduce AlcoholRelated Harms in NSW,” Mr Thorn said.

Michael Thorn will speak at the Safety and Good Order in Kings Cross community forum, hosted by Darlinghurst DRAG and 2011 Residents Association on Thursday 30th August 2012 at the Holiday Inn, Victoria Street, Kings Cross.

Key Findings

  • The majority (80%) of NSW adults believe that Australia has a problem with excess drinking or alcohol abuse, and 76% believe that alcohol-related problems will remain the same or worsen over the next five to ten years.
  • The majority of NSW adults (77%) believe that more needs to be done to reduce the harms caused by alcohol related illness, injury, death and related issues. Most perceive that alcohol companies (72%), pubs and clubs (63%) and governments (56%) are not doing enough to address these problems.
  • Almost 1.5 million NSW drinkers (37%) consume alcohol with the intention of getting drunk.
  • 692,000 NSW drinkers (17%) have consumed alcoholic energy drinks.
  • Almost 1.7 million or 34% of NSW adults have been affected by alcohol-related violence.
  • NSW drinkers are more likely than Australian drinkers as a whole to consume alcohol in licenced venues (31% compared to 24%).

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