By James Atkinson
A senior liquor industry figure has expressed his frustration at the sector's failure to capitalise on the indisputable evidence that Australians are drinking less, despite what the vocal anti-alcohol lobby would have the public believe.
Former ALSA president Mal Higgs told TheShout that in the absence of the liquor industry having a united counter argument, anti-alcohol campaigners are winning the debate in the eyes of the media and the eyes of the consumer.
He pointed out that the latest ABS figures released this month once again showed per capita alcohol consumption had fallen, this time by 2.6 per cent on the previous year.
"Yet all we hear is all the negativity and all the bad news," Higgs said.
"It's very frustrating that the industry is not prepared to mobilise its significant resources to address this. There is so much each sector has in common."
Higgs said he and ALSA CEO Terry Mott have spent nearly three years working to develop a united front for the liquor industry.
"The existing industry forum – National Alcohol Beverages Council (NABIC) – has done an extremely good job over the last 25 years of representing the industry's needs at a national level, however it just hasn't had the resources needed to be as effective as it could be," he said.
"It needs some leadership from within the industry to be able to agree that we can pull together and address some of the negativity out there."