By Ian Neubauer
Backlash from the RTD tax hike has contributed to the Rudd Government missing its own deadline for developing strategies to tackle excessive drinking, a senior public health figure has suggested.
Drug and Alcohol Research Training Australia (DARTA) director, Paul Dillon, said policies like the RTD tax hike that portrayed the Government as wowserish could cause it to lose credibility in the public eye.
“As soon as people think the Government is going to limit what they drink, how they drink and the cost of what they drink, you run into problems,” Dillon told The Sydney Morning Herald.
The director’s comment follows months of inaction on the policy front despite a string of highly publicised announcements based on a $53.5 million Rudd Government plan to combat alcohol abuse.
A series of hard-hitting television commercials the Prime Minister promised in February has failed to materialise, while an interim report on alcohol abuse scheduled to go before the Council of Australian Governments this month has now been pushed forward to October.
A Government spokesperson attributed the delays to extensive consultations with the alcohol industry and health groups, while another denied the Government was stepping back from the campaign to combat ‘binge drinking’.
“The Government is working very hard and will have more to say on binge drinking,” the spokesperson told the newspaper.
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