Young Australians ‘driving one of the most significant cultural changes ever seen’ – ABA

May 25, 2021
By Ioni Doherty

Alcohol Beverages Australia (ABA) say that with the majority of young Australians (83.2%[1]) drinking in moderation and within the guidelines, the latest survey from theAlcohol and Drug Foundation shows their relationship with alcohol is an increasingly sensible one and largely devoid of harms. 

However, the Alcohol and Drug Foundation suggests that the research shows that one in five Australians are ignorant of the harms caused by drinking alcohol, with young people especially oblivious to the risks.

“The less you drink, the lower your risk of harm such as injuries, illnesses, dependence and diseases like cancer,” CEO of the Alcohol and Drug Foundation, Dr Erin Lalor said.

Twenty-nine per cent of 18 to 24-year-olds surveyed by the foundation and 25 per cent of 25 to 29-year-olds, did not associate alcohol with illness or injury. Over a quarter (27 per cent) of 18 to 24-year-olds are now drinking more since Covid lockdowns.

In response, Alcohol Beverages Australia CEO Andrew Wilsmore said:

“It should be unsurprising that younger people are legally celebrating more since coming out of Covid lockdowns. The majority of their drinking is occasion-based and with sport back on, dancing allowed and musicians reoccupying hospitality venues, young people are getting out and enjoying these activities again. 

“Our youngest generation should be applauded, rather than demonised, as they are driving one of the most significant cultural changes we have ever seen. “

Wilsmore says that that over 18s continue to reduce the amount and frequency of when they drink, with per capita consumption at 50 year lows. 

“Like most Australians who consume in moderation, a beer watching sport, a glass of wine with dinner or a celebration cocktail is a normal part of Australian life,” he said.

Wilsmore also took issue with recent advice from the NHMRC saying, “Most Australians see risk through a very different lens than the NHMRC advice which has been shown to not have provided Australians with the real facts to make informed decisions

“Instead of trying to create a false sense of concern, Australians deserve a pat on the back for changing our culture to one where moderation is the norm,” said Mr Wilsmore. 

[1] AIHW NDSHS 2019

[2] As reported in media on the FARE Annual Alcohol Poll

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