The Royal Australasian College of Physicians (RACP) has welcomed an update from the Northern Territory Government on the NT Alcohol Harm Minimisation Action Plan.
“The reduction in emergency department presentations across the Territory, and the 12-month reduction in assaults in Alice Springs, are particularly pleasing,” said Dr Rob Tait, chair of the RACP NT Regional Committee and specialist paediatrician.
“We see this in our hospitals, and Territorians are starting to see the benefits in the community.”
The RACP is on the record supporting a minimum floor price for alcohol and the NT Government’s commitment to this is a significant moment of national leadership.
“We want this vital reform properly implemented, monitored, and evaluated as a demand-reduction measure that can pay significant social and health dividends, especially for individual health and public health. Unfortunately, the NT leads the nation in alcohol consumption. However, it’s now also leading the nation in evidence-driven strategies to reduce alcohol consumption and combat the harms it causes,” Dr Tait said.
“The floor price is expected to reduce the availability of cheap alcohol, and reduce alcohol consumption and problematic drinking patterns.”
“Implementing the Alcohol Review’s recommendations is a long-term commitment that needs bipartisan support.
“Transparent and regular reporting of progress is the first step towards better policy design to address the challenges ahead, and demonstrates the Government is serious about this responsibility.
“We have not yet analysed today’s update in detail, but the publicly accountable approach is encouraging,” Dr Tait said. “We urge the Government and all NT legislators to continue to listen to specialists and other experts on the health benefits of reduced alcohol consumption as the next phase of alcohol regulation is consulted, legislated and implemented,” Dr Tait said.