VicHealth’s Action Agenda 2019–2023 reaffirms the 10-year goal of 200,000 more Victorians drinking less alcohol by 2023.
Download: VicHealth Alcohol Strategy 2019–2023 (PDF, 142 KB)
Most people agree that, overall, Victorians drink too much alcohol (FARE 2019). This causes a range of preventable diseases, including cancer, stroke and liver cirrhosis, along with the injury and violence experienced by communities across the state (Gao et al. 2014; Turning Point 2019). Every year in Victoria, alcohol products cause more than 1,200 deaths and nearly 40,000 hospitalisations (Gao et al. 2014).
In 2013, VicHealth released its Action Agenda for Health Promotion, which set our strategic direction for the 10 years to 2023. Preventing harm from alcohol is one of the five strategic imperatives identified for action to improve the health of all Victorians, with a 10-year goal of 200,000 more Victorians drinking less alcohol by 2023.
Changing risky drinking cultures
Building on our innovative work in developing the Alcohol Cultures Framework, we will continue to support programs that reduce or prevent high-risk drinking cultures. We know that the shared practices of a social group, rather than individuals, have the greatest scope to bring about cultural change (VicHealth et al. 2019).
To change high-risk drinking cultures, we will:
- shift the focus from the behaviour of individuals to the shared activities and practices of a group or social world
- integrate learnings from the first Alcohol Culture Change pilot projects and apply them to support organisations and local communities to design interventions for high-risk
drinking social worlds
- build further evidence on applying our Alcohol Cultures Framework to scale, and embed this approach in preventing harm from alcohol.
What will success look like?
Positive changes in the settings, skills and shared meanings across the high-risk drinking social worlds in which we work.
Enabling environments to support low-risk drinking
The most effective policy measures for reducing alcohol harm across the population are those that reduce the affordability, promotion and availability of alcohol products (Babor et al. 2004).
Given there is strong concern in the community about the harm caused by alcohol products, it is crucial to harness this concern to help drive whole-of-population action on alcohol (FARE 2019). Better health and wellbeing requires influencing systems to improve physical and social environments. In Victoria, local government plays a key role in identifying the scope of the problem and developing solutions to reduce alcohol-fuelled harm.
To support communities to reduce harm from alcohol products and strengthen policy action directed at the alcohol industry, we will:
- provide councils with tools and evidence to add value and support their efforts to reduce alcohol-fuelled harm at the local level
- provide legal policy capacity to the alcohol harm-prevention sectorleverage existing partnerships and forums, including the Alcohol Policy Coalition,the Local Government Gambling, Alcohol and Other Drugs Issues Forum and the Liquor Control Advisory Council to influence the policy and practice of organisations and government
- engage the public and stakeholders to harness community support for better regulation of alcohol marketing and sales, building on learnings from our Top Spin community engagement initiative and other programs
- consult with our advisory body, the VicHealth Alcohol Taskforce, and other stakeholders to identify priority research required to inform our future strategies and deliver this with research partners.
What will success look like?
More public debate around alcohol reform, and governments at all levels implementing evidence-based reform.
Download: VicHealth Alcohol Strategy 2016–2019 (PDF, 205 KB)
References: Download the VicHealth Alcohol Strategy 2019–2023 PDF for a full list of references