By Amy Looker
The Distilled Spirits Industry Council of Australia (DSICA) has warned that alcohol cannot be held solely responsible for an increase in violence in entertainment precincts around the country.
DSICA's statement comes in the wake of Queensland's Health Minister Lawrence Springborg's comments that alcohol-related violence in Australia's entertainment precincts is the result of a culture of "yobbism".
DSICA said in a statement that it thoroughly supports the Minister's views. Spokesperson Stephen Riden said that a violent and ugly culture has become entrenched among some of Australian youth young men and women, and that it will prove a difficult problem to solve. He added that senior police officers in several states have also expressed similar views to DSICA's about a culture of violence, and also that the assaults have become far more vicious and damaging than in previous decades.
However, Riden warned that the recent death of Sydney teenager in Kings Cross, Tom Kelly, should not immediately be linked to alcohol-related violence.
"I would highlight to the industry that a couple of health NGOs and alcohol academics have tried to exploit Tom Kelly's death to push their agenda of price increases, banning advertising and reducing availability of alcohol across the board, even though we can't be sure that Kelly's extremely unfortunate death had anything at all to do with alcohol," Riden told TheShout.
"Anything to do with violence or yobbo culture will be linked back to the industry. This culture is not just around violence, it's about all forms of anti-social behaviour. It appears the people within this culture have no idea of acceptable public behaviour. The health NGOs are trying to use that to push their agenda. We as an industry need to be scrupulous in our behaviour and we will be held to the highest standards."