By James Atkinson
A reinvigorated National Alcoholic Beverages Industries Council (NABIC) aims to release a new platform early next year that will better equip the industry to participate in public debate over alcohol-related issues.
The need for the liquor industry to "get on the front foot" in countering its critics was the dominant theme in a panel discussion of regulatory issues fronted by the senior executives of the industry's biggest suppliers.
It was revealed that industry funding of the peak industry body, NABIC, has been increased considerably over the last 12 months and the organisation is now benefiting from having a dedicated administrator in Greg Holland.
"It may seem we've made no progress, but now versus a year ago there's been a substantial amount of progress," NABIC chair James Brindley told TheShout.
"It's very important if we are going to be proactive to have constructive and evidence-based arguments.
"If we don't, we're an easy target. That's why things take time."
Brindley said the regulatory sessions had been valuable in demystifying for conference delegates the roles and priorities of NABIC and the industry's other responsible drinking initiatives, DrinkWise and the Alcohol Beverages Advertising Code (ABAC).
He welcomed the feedback from industry at the panel session, which will assist the NABIC board in building a "balanced story of the alcohol industry" to counter the misinformation perpetuated by the health lobby.
"The enthusiasm and the intent was all good, the challenge now is we go away and activate that," he said.