The Alcohol Policy Coalition (APC) has welcomed the Victorian Government’s announcement of reforms to Victoria’s liquor laws that will protect children from alcohol advertising and strengthen laws around the sale and supply of alcohol to children.
The Victorian Government yesterday revealed reforms to the Liquor Control Reform Act 1998 that include banning alcohol adverting within 150m of schools. This was a recommendation of the APC and a number of public health bodies to the 2016 Review of the Act.
APC spokesperson and Cancer Council Victoria Senior Legal Policy Advisor Sarah Jackson strongly supported the reforms.
“There is a clear link between exposure to alcohol advertising and alcohol use in young people. We know the more adolescents are exposed to alcohol advertising the more likely they are to start drinking at a young age and engage in risky levels of drinking,” Mrs Jackson said.
“Alcohol companies know this and have continued to advertise in predatory ways that increase their profits at the expense of the well-being of our children.”
The new reforms will also strengthen existing laws to prevent the sale of alcohol to children by alcohol businesses by requiring delivery drivers to check identification when delivering alcohol.
Mark Zirnsak, Senior Social Justice Advocate from Uniting Church Victoria, an APC partner, said the way alcohol is supplied is changing, with a rapid rise in the number of businesses selling alcohol online.
“It is vital that our laws respond to these changes to help prevent the sale of alcohol to young people by alcohol businesses,” Mr Zirnsak said.
“Aggressive marketing by the alcohol industry in Victoria is causing a range of devastating harms. Alcohol contribute to street violence, family violence, injuries, overdoses, deaths, car accidents, crime, and a range of other social harms.
“We applaud the Victorian Government for taking a step in the right direction to prevent harm caused by the alcohol industry in the Victorian community. We look forward to a wider range of reforms that aim to address this. This should include measures to reduce the impact of alcohol businesses on family violence, such as the introduction of an ‘alcohol harm zone’ policy to prevent or restrict new liquor licences in family violence hot spots or areas of high alcohol harm.”
It is widely recognised that alcohol is a major contributing factor to family violence, and increases both the likelihood and severity of the violence. [i] , [ii], [iii]
The 2016 Royal Commission into Family Violence called on the Victorian Government to consider the contribution of alcohol to family violence in its review of the Liquor Control Reform Act.
To view the APC submission or for further information visit http://www.alcoholpolicycoalition.org.au/our-work/liquor-act-review
[i] World Health Organization 2006, Intimate partner violence and alcohol fact sheet, <http://www.who.int/violence_injury_prevention/violence/world_report/factsheets/fs_child.pdf>.
[ii] Council of Australian Governments 2011, National plan to reduce violence against women and their children, pp. 15, 21.
[iii] Victoria, Royal Commission intoFamily Violence, Summary and recommendations (2016), p. 28.