Alcohol policy scorecard: Glass half full

A new report has found the Liberal National Party (LNP) has little appetite for evidence-based measures to reduce alcohol harms; with the Newman Government (LNP) indicating full support for only one in ten alcohol policy measures proposed by a group of leading public health experts.

The Queensland Greens, Labor and Katter’s Australian Party (KAP) all performed better, and the Queensland Coalition for Action on Alcohol (QCAA) says it is encouraged by the alcohol policy scorecard findings, and the growing support for more effective policy measures.

Earlier this month, the QCAA wrote to the major parties requesting a response to ten alcohol policy questions; receiving a response from the LNP, Labor, the Greens and KAP.

The Greens were most likely to support policies to reduce alcohol-related harm, supporting eight of the ten QCCA advocated strategies, with Labor and KAP both scoring four out of 10, and the LNP supporting just one.

Queensland Coalition for Action on Alcohol Chairman, Professor Jake Najman says the scorecard results are heartening.

“There is growing support for the types of evidence-based measures that we know would be effective in reducing alcohol harms. We’re just days out from the State Election, but regardless of the result I think we can take some comfort that across the political spectrum there is a growing awareness of alcohol issues and the political necessity to adopt policies that will address the alcohol toll,” Professor Jake Najman said.

The scorecard assessment was based on the parties’ willingness to adopt evidence-based alcohol policies proven to reduce harms.

The development of a state-wide alcohol harm reduction plan received support in full from all parties. Measures including the prohibition of harmful discounting and promotion of alcohol products at on and off-licence premises and the ban of alcohol promotions on state property also received good support, with the Greens and the KAP indicating their full support for this strategy and the LNP and ALP supporting the measures in part.

There were also two policies which were supported in full by all parties except the LNP, these were the collection and public reporting of alcohol harm and compliance data and support for a comprehensive, independent evaluation of the Safe Night Out Strategy.

No party was prepared to make a commitment to support a policy that excludes alcohol industry involvement in policy development and a ban on alcohol industry donations to Queensland political parties.

Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education Chief Executive Michael Thorn says the QCAA Alcohol Policy Scorecard provides Queenslanders with valuable information before they cast their votes.

“We know from our polling that 64 per cent of Queenslanders want to know where the parties stand on alcohol harm prevention. Ahead of the election, this QCAA Alcohol Policy Scorecard gives them a valuable tool to make that assessment,” Mr Thorn said.

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