By Andrew Starke
The CEO of the Alcohol Education & Rehabilitation (AER) Foundation, Ian Chalmers, has resigned after just over two months in the job and less than three weeks after the findings of a major study into alcohol misuse were released.
Many of the figures in the report were disputed by the liquor industry and the AER was accused of publishing unfounded claims.
Released in late August, 'The Range and Magnitude of Alcohol’s Harm to Others' report claimed the total cost of all alcohol-related harms in Australia is $36 billion per year.
This figure includes tangible costs of $24.6 billion and intangible costs of $11.4 billion.
Tangible costs consist of out-of-pocket expenses, forgone wages and productivity, while intangible costs are the costs assigned to diminished quality of life.
These conclusions were widely reported in the media at the time although an AER Foundation press release indicated that ‘the findings are conservative and further work is currently underway to improve the quality of data underpinning these estimates’.
Controversially the report said the $36 billion annual cost included a ‘newly identified $20 billion cost of harms from the drinking of others’.
This total amount is more than double previous estimates.
The AER Foundation announced the resignation in a short statement.
“The AER Foundation Board would like to acknowledge the contribution Mr Chalmers has made to the organisation, and wish him all the best in his future endeavours,” said AER Foundation chairperson, Cheryl Bart.
Chalmers joined the AER Foundation on July 12, replacing acting CEO Jim O’Shea.
To read the full findings of 'The Range and Magnitude of Alcohol’s Harm to Others' report, click here.