The latest updates to the Alcohol, Tobacco & Other Drugs Report by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) continues to show positive trends associated with Australians’ alcohol consumption.
The news has been welcomes by the Australian Beverages Association and Retail Drinks Australia.
“Despite perceptions driven by anti-alcohol activists that harms are rising, Australians should be giving themselves a congratulatory slap on the back by the AIHW findings that show responsible drinking is the new cultural norm in Australia,” said Andrew Wilsmore, CEO of Alcohol Beverages Australia.
The reports shows that the number of Australians consuming alcohol are doing so at the lowest rate in 50 years with fewer people drinking at lifetime levels of harm. It also shows that younger people continue to be responsible drinkers with 72 per cent of 14-17 year olds never consuming alcohol, a substantial increase from 32 per cent just 20 years ago.
“While our industry can’t take full credit for this change, it is a real testament to the efforts of DrinkWise, the ABAC Scheme, and our retailers ID25 and Don’t Buy For Them initiatives,” said Mr Wilsmore.
“This changing drinking culture has seen our industry innovate with new zero or low-alcohol products, more health conscious offerings, and a growing number of high-value premium drinks as Australians increasingly look for a something special to enjoy in moderation.”
Retail Drinks Australia concurred with CEO Michael Waters saying that the latest data included in the AIHW report, aggregated from a variety of different sources, demonstrated that Australians were continuing to moderate their alcohol intake, with total per capita alcohol consumption remaining at record low levels.
“What is clear from the latest data in AIHW’s report is that the vast majority of Australians are making more responsible choices around their alcohol consumption, including during the COVID-19 pandemic, contrary to commentary from anti-alcohol activists,” said Mr Waters.
However, Mr Waters did acknowledge a need to “address irresponsible drinking amongst specific segments of the population with targeted policy solutions such as the Banned Drinker Register, particularly in some regional areas where wastewater analysis did show an increase in alcohol consumption between August 2019 and August 2020”.
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