Community-based restrictions on alcohol availability

Community-based restrictions on alcohol availability Book Section

Learning from 50 Years of Aboriginal Alcohol Programs: Beating the Grog in Australia

  • Author(s): d’Abbs, Peter, Hewlett, Nicole
  • Published: 2023
  • Publisher: Springer Nature Singapore
  • ISBN: 978-981-99-0401-3

Abstract: This chapter reviews the emergence from the 1980s of community-based initiatives aimed at reducing alcohol-related harm by curtailing the availability of alcohol. We distinguish three types of local restrictions on supply: voluntary agreements negotiated between liquor outlets and neighbouring communities; restrictions negotiated between outlets and communities and then incorporated into the licence conditions of the outlets concerned, and restrictions imposed by state/territory licensing authorities. Local restrictions on supply are usually based on a public health approach to alcohol problems which focuses on reducing alcohol-related harms at a local population level rather than focusing on individual drinkers. Historically, and particularly in central Australia, campaigns to impose restrictions were often led by women, who experienced at first hand the violence associated with excessive drinking. We discuss evidence from local restrictions in remote communities and regions, and in regional towns with large Aboriginal populations. Evidence suggests that, where restrictions are a product of genuine community input, they are effective in reducing alcohol-related harms and enjoy strong support. Where they are imposed with little regard to community input—as in the case of some Alcohol Management Plans introduced by the Queensland Government in the early 2000s—they are often perceived by those affected as discriminatory and disempowering. Community-based restrictions are also often politically contentious, largely as a result of opposition by the liquor and hospitality industries. The chapter also discusses the relationship between alcohol restrictions and anti-discrimination legislation and summarises factors associated with effective community-based restrictions on supply.

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d’Abbs, Peter, Hewlett, Nicole, 2023, Community-based restrictions on alcohol availability, Book Section, viewed 28 November 2023,

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