The Royal Australasian College of Physicians (RACP) has marked the first anniversary of minimum pricing in the Northern Territory with a renewed push to roll out pricing signals nationally that will help prevent disease, deaths and other alcohol harm.
The RACP notes the early results of the reforms in the NT and says it will take the evidence from the ongoing evaluation to all states and territories to ask for a national rollout of a floor price.
Booze should not be cheaper than water. The RACP is keen to take the positive outcomes from the NT Government’s alcohol reform package to all states and territories to ask for a national rollout of minimum pricing. There is strong evidence internationally that shows reducing the availability of extremely cheap alcohol through setting a minimum price decreases the harm associated with alcohol use. If we want Australian children and families to have the best protection from the devastating impacts of alcohol use then we need effective regulation.
Dr Rob Tait, chair of the RACP NT Regional Committee and specialist pediatrician
Key outcomes from the NT’s alcohol reform program:
- The August 2019 report by the NT government shows a 17.3% reduction in emergency department presentations in July 2018 to June 2019 compared to the same period in 2017-2018 and a 42.5% reduction in alcohol-related assaults in Katherine from Oct-Dec 2017 compared to April-June 2019.
- In Alice Springs, there were 45% fewer alcohol-related assaults, 37% fewer alcohol-related domestic violence assaults and 33% fewer alcohol-attributable emergency presentations between 2017-2018 and 2018-2019.
We know that the rates of alcohol consumption in Australia are contributing to a significant disease burden for individuals and our health services. Alcohol use contributes to the burden of 30 diseases and injuries including alcohol use disorders, eight types of cancer, chronic liver disease and 12 types of injury, predominantly road traffic injuries, suicide and self-inflicted injuries. Alcohol is also responsible for 8.1 per cent of the Indigenous health gap and in 2011 Indigenous Australians experienced rates of alcohol-related disease burden at 3.1 times the rate of non-Indigenous Australians.
Dr Rob Tait