Alcohol Beverages Australia (ABA) has welcomed the release of the Federal Government’s Report Card on Australian Health, which has shown a continuation of the long-term positive trends in all the major indicators associated with alcohol consumption.
ABA Executive Director, Fergus Taylor, said the report shows that Australians are getting the message that moderate alcohol consumption can be part of a happy and healthy lifestyle.
“The vast majority of Australians consume alcohol responsibly and it is pleasing to see these important trends are continuing to improve,” he said.
The report highlighted some significant changes in drinking behaviours between 2013 and 2016, with the number of people (14 years and over) consuming alcohol daily dropping from 6.5 per cent to 5.9 per cent; drinking alcohol weekly fell from 37.3 per cent to 35.8 per cent; drinking alcohol less often than weekly went from 34.5 per cent to 35.8 per cent.
In addition the number of 12-17 year olds abstaining from alcohol increased from 72.3 per cent to 81.5 per cent and the age of the full serve of alcohol for 14-24 year olds increased from 15.7 years to 16.1 years.
The ABA said that these favourable trends reaffirm Australians are drinking more responsibly than ever before, and underline the success of targeted Government alcohol policy around intervention and prevention, and effective and successful industry measures like education campaigns to promote sensible and moderate drinking.
Taylor added: “The industry is committed to the promotion of responsible and moderate drinking and today’s result is a comprehensive and independent acknowledgment that we’re on the right track.
“We are seeing more and more people opt for quality over quantity when it comes to drinking and socialising, and the continued growth of Australia’s unique food and entertainment cultures is also contributing to more moderate and sensible drinking behaviour.”
But Taylor said that the industry would not be resting on its laurels or these improvements, and acknowledged that there are still areas that need to be focused on and that these groups would continue to be targeted.
“Where problem areas have been identified, the solutions should be localised and targeted to address alcohol-related harms directly, whether that be through education, intervention and support services, responsible marketing and service or local liquor accords,” Taylor said.