Submission to the NSW Inquiry into strategies to reduce alcohol abuse among young people

FARE’s submission to the Inquiry into strategies to reduce alcohol abuse among young people in New South Wales (NSW), makes 29 recommendations on ways that the NSW Government can prevent and reduce alcohol-related harms among those aged between 12 and 24.

Recommendations

  1. That the NSW Government applies the Liquor Promotion Guidelines to both on-license and off-license premises with equal weight.
  2. That the NSW Government requires Point-of-Sale (POS) promotions at all on- and off-license premises in NSW to carry warnings about the harms associated with alcohol consumption.
  3. That the NSW Government clarifies and tightens regulations regarding POS promotions with a view to minimising minors’ exposure to these promotions in and around licensed premises in public-access areas, such as restaurants with bar sections, supermarkets with liquor sections, and shopping malls with packaged liquor outlets.
  4. That the NSW Government provide the general public with clear guidelines on how to submit complaints concerning liquor promotions and advise the general public of the types of evidence that may support their submission.
  5. That the NSW Government re-establish the dedicated Drug Prevention Programs Unit in the Department of Education and base the program on the evidence-base of what is most effective in the provision of AOD education.
  6. That the NSW Government develops a code of practice in line with the World Health Organization (WHO) recommendation disallowing alcohol industry groups from participating in the development of alcohol policy or health promotion programs.
  7. That the NSW Government should explore other emerging evidence-based AOD programs in criminal justice systems abroad, such as “Hawaii’s Opportunity Probation with Enforcement” (HOPE) program.
  8. That the NSW Government re-fund the Youth Drug and Alcohol Court (YDAC) program and ensure that it is regularly evaluated to continuously improve its practices with a view to enhancing future performance and outcomes.
  9. That the NSW Government extends the eligibility criteria of the Drug Court program to include alcohol-dependent adult offenders.
  10. That the NSW Government encourages work places to adopt an alcohol and drug policy that includes a particular focus on young employees and workplace safety.
  11. That the NSW Government introduces a zero Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) limit for all drivers under 25 years regardless of their license status.
  12. That the NSW Government develop a comprehensive public education campaign on drink driving targeting young people, that focuses on the potential for people to be over the legal BAC limit the morning after consuming alcohol.
  13. That the NSW Government wind back late night trading hours. FARE proposes that the NSW Government legislate to introduce a 12 month state-wide trial of the reduction of trading hours based on the Newcastle alcohol restrictions, including: a common 3.00am closing time for all pubs and clubs with extended trading license conditions across NSW; “Lockouts” (time periods disallowing patrons from entering or re-entering premises) at all extended trading licensed premises from 1.00am; and the trial should be independently evaluated to ascertain the social, health, crime and economic effects of these trading controls. The data collection requirements for this independent evaluation should be in place from the commencement of the 12 month trial.
  14. That the NSW Government make late night licensed premises contribute to the costs of alcohol-related harms. FARE proposes that the NSW Government introduce a risk-based licensing fee system that offsets and attributes the cost to Government and the community of administering and managing the impact of alcohol use and misuse on the community.
  15. That the NSW Government that the NSW Government control the density of licensed premises. FARE proposes that the NSW Government: Establish and enforces saturation zones in areas that are identified as already having large numbers of liquor licences including the City of Sydney; and introduce cumulative impact and cluster control policies for the determination of new liquor licenses.
  16. That the NSW Government enforce responsible service of alcohol requirements. FARE proposes that the NSW Government: introduce measures to better enforce RSA requirements in licensed venues throughout NSW including Compliance Officer visiting licensed premises outside of regular business hours. introduce requirements for OLGR and the NSW Police Force to publically report on compliance activities relating to the Liquor Act, the number of venues inspected and their location, the times of day that these venues are inspected and the number of identified breaches of compliance. prohibit the sale of shots, mixed drinks with more than 30mL of alcohol and ready mixed drinks stronger than five per cent alcohol by volume after 10.00pm; prohibit the sale of more than four drinks to any patron at one time and a requirement to provide free water stations on every bar; and prohibit the sale of alcohol mixed with energy drinks after midnight.
  17. That the NSW Government enhance data collection and the public availability of data on the burden of alcohol-attributable harms on the NSW health system.
  18. That the NSW Government support the development and delivery of brief interventions for young people who misuse alcohol and are presented to hospital emergency departments as a result.
  19. That the NSW Government introduces “irresponsible supply” laws to NSW, stating that the lawful supply of alcohol to minors must be conducted in a safe and responsible manner.
  20. That the NSW Government develops and implements a comprehensive public education campaign that informs the general public of the state legislation regarding supplying alcohol to minors. This campaign should incorporate the lessons learnt from the evaluation of the NSW Police’s “Supply Means Supply” campaign.
  21. That the NSW Government amends legislation in NSW to enable NSW Police Force to undertake controlled purchase operations for alcohol.
  22. That the NSW Government fund culturally appropriate education, diversion and intervention programs that target young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
  23. That the NSW Government re-fund the Youth Drug and Alcohol Court and tailor eligibility criteria for Drug Court applicants who identify themselves as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
  24. That the NSW Government extend the NSW Drug Court’s eligibility criteria to include alcohol dependence, and tailor the Drug Court’s eligibility criteria to accommodate for program applicants who identify themselves as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander peoples.
  25. That the NSW Government carry out enforcement activities more regularly at licensed premises on and around university campuses.
  26. That universities in NSW develop comprehensive and universal alcohol policies that are communicated and promoted among students and reinforced within university council by-laws.
  27. That universities in NSW introduce by-law rules that restrict the availability of alcohol on campuses in terms of trading hours, the number of outlets and the pricing and promotion of liquor.
  28. That universities in NSW introduce by-law rules that discourage or prohibit the sponsorship of student associations, clubs and societies by licensed venues and alcohol companies.
  29. That universities in NSW fund and design alcohol education and intervention programs to reduce risky alcohol consumption behaviours and improve university student health and resilience.

FARE supports policy reforms that contribute to a reduction in alcohol-related harms in Australia. Our policy work is informed by the evidence of what is most effective in reducing alcohol-related harms. We support the progression of population-based health measures, which take into consideration the far reaching and complex impacts of alcohol-related harms.

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