Health advocates have called on ACT politicians to ban alcohol advertising at Canberra’s sporting grounds and expand the Territory’s Liquor Board to include parents.
The Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education launched its ACT election policy last week, urging a multi-pronged approach to help protect Canberra’s children from the direct and indirect harms associated with alcohol misuse.
“This election, we are calling on political parties and candidates to commit to sensible measures that would address the way alcohol is marketed and sold in our community, and modest investments that would empower and support communities, help reduce alcohol harm and better protect the children of Canberra,” FARE chief executive Michael Thorn said.
The foundation, which in the past has called for minimum per drink prices to combat alcohol abuse, urged $1 million be invested over four years in a centre in Canberra for children affected by fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD).
Mr Thorn said aside from alcohol use affecting children in utero, it could also result in physical abuse, domestic violence and teenage death.
“We know that it’s the environment we live in that contributes to these harms,” he said.
“That’s the bad news. The good news is we know there are very achievable ways of addressing these environmental factors and reducing these harms.”
The FARE platform also called for political leaders to guarantee the $2.2 million in annual funding for the ACT Health Promotion Grants program to continue, and to expand the “Game Changer+” program to every government high school in the territory, which the foundation estimated would cost $200,000 over two years.
Despite Chief Minister Andrew Barr walking away from a series of proposals to lift licensing fees and restrict nightclub hours, the foundation also reiterated previous public health sector calls for licensing fees to be increased by at least 25 per cent.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of Edmonton and Area Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder Network.