Congratulations, your article ‘Oversupply of grog fuels violence in Byron Bay’ was spot on. It is crystal clear from research done in Australia and all over the world that the most important factors in alcohol-related problems are: (i) the price of alcohol; and (ii) the availability of alcohol.
The community experiences more alcohol problems if alcohol is too cheap and too available and less alcohol-related problems if alcohol costs a little bit more and is a little harder to get.
We have to remember that the heaviest drinking 10 per cent of drinkers consume 50 per cent of the alcohol consumed in a community and the the heaviest drinking 20 per cent of drinkers consume 70 per cent of the alcohol.
It is also this 10 per cent (or 20 per cent) who make the drinks industry so profitable.
When in government, both sides of politics put the interests of the drinks industry ahead of the interests of the community.
If the community wants their interests put ahead of the interests of the drinks industry then they have to make their views better known and demand fewer outlets and less liberal conditions for their outlets.
The NSW government should demand of the Commonwealth that health is taken into account when setting alcohol tax.
It’s not really that complicated.
Alex Wodak, former director of alcohol and drug services, St Vincent’s Hospital, Sydney