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Media releases

Churches call for alcohol harm minimization

5 March 2013

The NSW Council of Churches today renewed its call for the O’Farrell Government to extend recent Newcastle trials of measures to curb alcohol related violence.

New national data showed that 70,000 Australians were involved in alcohol-related disputes each year, and the estimated annual cost to emergency services was around $15 billion.

“Alcohol is a popular drug that is easily accessed and easily misused,” the President of the NSW Council of Churches, the Revd Dr Ross Clifford, said.

“Alcohol consumption is a significant contributor to street violence, family violence, health problems and poverty in our communities.  The O’Farrell Government is to be commended for small positive steps in the past, but we want to see significant regulatory reform this year,”

“Trials in Newcastle have demonstrated that measures such as earlier pub closing times, lock-outs, and restrictions on the sale of high-alcohol content drinks late at night can significantly reduce alcohol-related violence.  It’s time for the NSW Government to extend these trials to other parts of the state,” Dr Clifford said.

“We respect the right of citizens to engage in modest and responsible alcohol consumption if they choose to do so.  This is not about banning alcohol.  This is about an effective harm minimization and customer protection strategy,” Dr Clifford said.

Media contact Rod Benson 0412 421 678

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