By Andrew Starke

Prominent Melbourne nightclub owner, Peter Iwaniuk, has lashed out at Government and the tabloid media for continuing to blame alcohol for the prevalence of violence throughout society.

“So long as the Brumby Government continues to simplistically blame alcohol for violence, they will remain blind to the true underlying causes and will fail to come up with the right solutions,” he said.

Iwaniuk also took aim at the media, branding the tabloid newspapers ‘irresponsible’ and unwilling to examine the wider underlying social and cultural factors which cause violence.

“It is clear that cultural factors, and not alcohol, are associated with levels of crime and violence in society,” he said.

“If alcohol caused or fuelled violence, one would expect to see a direct correlation between alcohol consumption and levels of crime. However this is not the case.

“The Middle East has some of the most violent countries in the world yet their Governments and religious beliefs do not allow consumption of alcohol.

“In Western countries there are likewise similar contradictions. For example, Luxembourg has the highest alcohol consumption rate of any country – 15.5 litres per person (source: The Economist, June 12th 2007).
“But Luxembourg is also rated the safest city in the world (source: Mercer Consulting, June 10th 2008).

“The average alcohol consumption rate for the USA is only 8.6 litres per person per year (with a minimum drinking age of 21) yet no American city is ranked within the top 50 safest cities, which is of course no surprise to anyone.

“The average alcohol consumption rate for Melbourne is around 9.92 litres per person per year and Melbourne is ranked the 29th safest city,” Iwaniuk continued.

Iwaniuk urged leaders, policy advisers and journalists to undertake proper research including papers readily available on the Nightclub Owners Forum website.

“It is quite critical that our leaders and bureaucrats get out of their armchairs and observe Melbourne’s streets first hand when they are at their busiest,” concluded Iwaniuk.

“They will see that Melbourne is not out of control but there are many issues that need to be urgently addressed such as more strategic use of police, better transport, and cracking down on illegal drinking in the street, party buses and rogue taxi drivers.”

The Shout Team

The leading online news service for Australia's beer, wine, spirits and hospitality industries.

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