The Northern Territory (NT) has won the award for the most action taken on alcohol in 2018 against all other Australian states and territories, while New South Wales (NSW) has taken the Fizzer for the worst performer.
'The Fizzers' is an initiative of the National Alliance for Action on Alcohol (NAAA) that compares progress in alcohol policy development annually between Australian states and territories. The Fizzers are scored by three expert assessors in each state and territory.
The NT won the award for the best performer for their comprehensive alcohol policy reform following their response to the landmark Riley Review into alcohol policies and legislation.
NAAA Co-Chair Ms Jane Martin said "The Northern Territory Government is taking action to introduce a range of alcohol policies that will save lives and keep people healthy and well. Their comprehensive reform agenda is leaving no stone unturned and they have also committed to evaluating these measures to contribute to further evidence-based policy development. They are very worthy winners of the best performer in the Alcohol Policy Scorecard."
Across 2018 the NT Government has undertaken extensive work to implement alcohol policy and program changes arising from the Alcohol Policies and Legislation Review (The Riley Review). In February 2018 the NT Government responded to the Riley Review supporting all but one of the 220 recommendations. The NT Government has made substantial progress in introducing these recommendations with more than 50 already implemented.
At the other end of the scale, NSW has won the Fizzer for the worst performing state or territory in 2018. The NSW Government received the Fizzer because it does not have an alcohol strategy in place, it failed to introduce several recommendations arising from a review into alcohol advertising and there is concern about the level of alcohol industry influence in the states alcohol policies. NSW was one of three jurisdictions who did not receive a pass mark, alongside Tasmania and the Australian Capital Territory (ACT).
NAAA Co-Chair Dr John Crozier said "The NSW Government is eroding the safeguards that exist to keep the community safe. This undermining of these key policies is in part due to the strong influence of the alcohol industry in this state."
Across the country there were notable actions being taken in several states and territories including the introduction of restrictions on advertising of alcohol on public transport in Western Australia and Victoria and the ongoing commitment to trading hour restrictions and a comprehensive evaluation across the state in Queensland.
NAAA Co-Chair Jane Martin said "Across the country we have seen a number of states and territories introduce measures that demonstrate a commitment to the health of Australians, with five out of eight states receiving a pass mark. When the health of Australians is prioritised ahead of the interests of the alcohol industry, we all benefit."