ACT top for tackling alcohol-related harm, says national body

ACT top for tackling alcohol-related harm, says national body

The ACT has been ranked first among all Australian jurisdictions in its attempts to tackle the outcomes of alcohol-related harm.

The National Alliance for Action on Alcohol released its inaugural National Scorecard on Alcohol Policy, which weighed federal, state and territory governments' policies against a list of criteria.

Only three achieved a pass mark over 50 per cent. The highest grades were the ACT on 57 per cent, closely followed by Western Australia on 53 per cent and Tasmania on 50 per cent.

The federal government scored the lowest, on just 29 per cent.

The award comes as new statistics showed there have been more than 600 alcohol-related assaults in Civic since the government introduced stricter laws in December 2010. Anti-alcohol campaigners have been lobbying the government to cut late-night trading of licensed venues, in a bid to stop the violence.


NAAA co-chairman Mike Daube said the results were sobering. ''We're all aware of the enormous magnitude of alcohol problems in our community [and] we're all aware of the urgent need for action,'' he said.

The National Alliance for Action on Alcohol was founded three years ago and now has more than 70 member organisations around Australia. Some of the criteria that were judged included restrictions on marketing, alcohol education and drink driving counter-measures.

Professor Daube said a lot of positive work had been done by the ACT government. ''They've got strong legislation, they've introduced liquor reforms, they're strong on drink-driving [and] they're strong on policing.''

Chief Minister Katy Gallagher said the ACT was no different to any other state in witnessing the outcomes of alcohol-related behaviour. ''We're seeing the levels of drinking increase, we're seeing the amount that's being drunk increase, presentations to the emergency department are going up.''

She said she would weather the cries of ''nanny state'' to deal with alcohol-related harm. ''While this award acknowledges our efforts so far, it's also a reminder that we still have some way to go in this space.''

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