Victoria failing on alcohol policies: Auditor-General

The number of alcohol-related assaults in Victoria have risen rose by almost since 2001, while the number of ambulance attendances to deal with incidents related to alcohol more than tripled.

The state’s Auditor-General, Dr Peter Frost, has called on the government to act on alcohol-related harm, as he releases the findings.

The Effectiveness of Justice Strategies in Preventing and Reducing Alcohol-Related Harm report compared data from 2000-01 to 2010-11, and the shocking statistics have revealed the current government policies are not working.

According to the report, the Department of Justice had put $67 million towards the problem of alcohol abuse in Victoria since 2008, but with very little impact.

Frost believes there is a lack of whole‑of‑government policy for the treatment of alcohol and its position in society.

He said poorly chosen and evaluated initiatives have resulted in inconsistent liquor licensing processes and legislation in the state, and labelled the Department of Justice’s alcohol policy initiatives “largely fragmented, superficial, and reactive”.

Frost wants significant changes made to how the government approaches strategy development, licensing and enforcement, and says that without such changes, the chances of making any noticeable impact on reducing alcohol-related harm is unlikely.

“Unfortunately, steps taken to date in developing the new alcohol and drug strategy, which is currently still in draft, suggest that opportunities for meaningful change may again be missed,” Frost said in the report.