Australia biggest drinkers

Where Australia’s biggest drinkers live

December 17, 2019
By Alana House

Put your misconceptions back in their box: some of Australia’s wealthiest areas are home to the biggest drinkers.

Australia’s Health Tracker by Area, Alcohol Report from the Mitchell Institute at Victoria University has revealed which areas have the highest risky drinking rates in the country.

Nationally, the average risky drinking rate is heading downward, with 17.1% of Australians over the age of 14 drinking at risky levels, and we are on track to reach the 2025 target of 16.1%, set by the Australian Health Policy Collaboration – a group of 70 leading health organisations and experts.

However, the Alcohol Report shows that risky drinking rates vary dramatically across the country, from as low as 6.5% in Greater Dandenong in outer east Melbourne to 31.5% in Byron Shire and Perth’s wealthy beachside suburbs.

Professor Rosemary Calder from health policy think tank the Mitchell Institute at Victoria University said many of the areas with Australia’s biggest drinkers usually measured positively for healthy lifestyle behaviours.

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“These wealthier areas have some of the lowest obesity and smoking rates in the country and highest rates of exercise and healthy diet,” she said.

“This suggests these people are receptive to and act on public health information to maintain and improve their health.

“However, when it comes to drinking, it appears they are not heeding the health concerns and are continuing to drink at risky levels.”

She said government programs that promoted safe drinking, and healthcare supports should be targeted into the communities that needed it most.

“Just as we need to provide greater quit smoking supports in our low socio-economic communities, we need to focus on getting effective information and supports for reducing alcohol consumption into regional and wealthier city communities,” Prof Calder added.

The Australia’s Health Tracker by Area Alcohol Report shows that lower socio economic communities with high migrant populations had the lowest rates of risking drinking.

“This suggests that a culture of drinking plays the biggest factor in risky drinking rates, and alcohol prices are also influencing drinking patterns,” Prof Calder said.

Full data is available here.

Most risky drinkers  – National

Byron, NSW31.6
Cottesloe, WA31.5
Mosman Park, WA31.5
Peppermint Grove, WA31.5
East Fremantle, WA29.8

Fewest risky drinkers – National

Greater Dandenong, VIC6.5
Fairfield, NSW6.6
Auburn, NSW7.9
Strathfield, NSW8.4
Brimbank, VIC8.6

Biggest drinkers in each state/territory

WAPerth’s Western suburbs**31.5
SAKangaroo Island27.0
NTInner Darwin23.8
QLDCaloundra/Maroochy Hinterland22.7

Fewest drinkers in each state/territory

VICGreater Dandenong6.5

**Cottesloe, Mosman Park, Peppermint Grove and Fremantle

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