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We have a drinking problem, say Aussies

The majority of Australians say the nation has a drinking problem, new research reveals.

Almost 80 per cent of adults think Australians drink too much and 85 per cent want to see more action to address excessive drinking, a Galaxy survey commissioned by the Alcohol Education and Rehabilitation Foundation (AER) has found.

The survey showed a “marked increase” on a similar survey carried out in January last year which found 63 per of adults thought Australians drank too much.

It comes as another Galaxy survey revealed almost two thirds of Australians believe a second rejection of the federal government’s “alcopops” (ready to drink) tax would be an “illegitimate” reason to call a double dissolution.

The survey of more than 1,000 respondents, commissioned by the Distilled Spirits Industry Council of Australia (DSICA), found just 25 per cent of people thought it would be a legitimate reason to hold an election.

“The Australian public does not think a second rejection of the RTD (ready to drink) tax bill is any justification for an early election, DSICA spokesman Stephen Riden said in a statement.

Just over half of the respondents said they agreed with scrapping the tax and 73 per cent said the tax was an ineffective way of addressing binge drinking among young people.

But AER Chair Scott Wilson said there had been “a swing in attitude” away from excessive drinking after the federal government put binge drinking on the national agenda.

“We still have a way to go in seeing this attitudinal shift translate into firm action on the part of the community, the government, and the alcohol industry,” Mr Wilson said.

“However, it’s encouraging to finally see such widespread acknowledgement amongst the Australian public that we need to do something about our drinking problems.

“It seems clear that we are moving into a period when there is a new wave of responsibility emerging and this change is happening on numerous levels not least of which appears to be amongst the drinking community itself,” he said.

He said the alcopops tax, the National Preventative Health Taskforce and the new NHMRC guidelines had been critical to raising public awareness about the dangers of alcohol abuse.

source: The Age

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