Policy priorities

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Policy priorities


These are public policy recommendations. For advice about reducing your personal risk of alcohol-related cancer, see Position statement: Alcohol and cancer risk.

Table 1. Strategy for reducing alcohol-related cancer burden

Reforming alcohol taxation policy
Policy priority/action Agency Estimated cost Expected benefit Comments
Centralised governance of Australia's alcohol taxation system Inter-jurisdictional agency agreement, led through the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) by federal Treasury No cost; revenue-raising See Regulating alcohol price for potential reductions in harmful levels of alcohol consumption through taxation reform The "Henry review" of Australia's tax system, and the Preventative Health Taskforce's recommendations, are two of the most substantial policy documents commissioned by an Australia Government, yet few recommendations in either have been adopted. Reforming alcohol taxation in Australia as recommended by both is an ideal opportunity for Government to respond to its own landmark policy advice.
Introduction of a volumetric tax - i.e., alcohol products taxed according to alcohol content (including the elimination of the anomalous Wine Equalisation Tax) As above No cost; revenue-raising if integrated with other tax reform measures See Volumetric tax for potential reductions in harmful levels of alcohol consumption through taxation reform As above
Increased investment of alcohol tax revenue into prevention programs As above Calculated according to estimates of alcohol-related healthcare costs; revenue boosted by recommended tax reforms See comments The "Henry review" of taxation observes that "raising revenue is a by-product, not the goal, of taxing alcohol" and recommends alcohol tax "address the spillover costs imposed on the community of alcohol abuse"
Integrate access to sales/consumption data into alcohol taxation reform As above Low cost; structural reform See Alcohol consumption in Australia Alcohol consumption levels in Australia are likely to be understated; a public health problem must be measured if it is to be effectively addressed
Protecting young people from alcohol marketing and promotion
Policy priority/action Agency Estimated cost Expected benefit Comments
Legislative/mandatory alcohol advertising framework (see following) Phased in by Australian Government; enforced by COAG-established, independent regulatory body Cost-neutral; structural reform See Why current regulatory arrangements are inadequate Young people who consume alcohol at unsafe levels are at increased risk of long-term alcohol misuse and therefore significantly higher risk of alcohol-related cancer
Remove the exemption in the Commercial Television Industry Code of Practice enabling broadcast of alcohol advertising during daytime live sporting events on weekends and public holidays Australian Communications and Media Authority Cost-neutral See Why current regulatory arrangements are inadequate Could be introduced as a first step towards an effective regulatory framework for alcohol advertising
Phasing out exposure of young people to the promotion of alcohol through alcohol sponsorship of sports and other entertainment popular with youth Australian government/ Commonwealth legislation Cost-neutral; structural reform See Why current regulatory arrangements are inadequate
Enhanced public education about alcohol harms
Policy priority/action Agency Estimated cost Expected benefit Comments
Raise awareness, encourage safer consumption through general practice interventions Multiple partners - e.g. government, RACGP, Australian General Practice Network Low investment; supported by improved government policy and enhanced partnerships See Role of general practitioners
Research into integrated, targeted social marketing strategies Facilitated by Australian National Preventive Health Agency (ANPH); As recommended by Preventative Health Taskforce See Social marketing/public education Should seek to raise awareness of link between alcohol and cancer (see following)
Increase awareness of link between alcohol and cancer Cancer Councils, allied organisations See comments More informed consumer choices Cancer Councils can explore low-cost ways of using mainstream and specialist media, alliances etc. to continue to increase awareness of this important link
Research into health warnings and content information on alcohol products Australian National Preventive Health Agency, Food Standards Australia and New Zealand See Consumer information and labelling of alcohol Despite the health harms, labelling requirements on alcohol products are less rigorous than those required on many food products; this anomaly should be addressed to provide more informed consumer choice
Expanding the evidence base
Policy priority/action Agency Estimated cost Expected benefit Comments
Conduct and disseminate epidemiological research Cancer Councils, allies Modest; funded on a project-by-project basis (see comments) Building the evidence base pivotal to improving awareness and changing policy Will involve making best use of quality international studies
Conduct and support behavioural research Cancer Councils, NGO allies, Australian National Preventive Health Agency Modest; funded on a project-by-project basis Improved evidence will enable more effective interventions
Ongoing policy development and promotion Cancer Councils, allies Modest; part of Cancer Council core business Pivotal basis for seeking policy change Includes specific, detailed policy position statements
Build evidence base on warning labels See Enhanced public education


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