By Jerril Rechter, VicHealth CEO
Letter to the editor first published in the Maribyrnong Leader, 24 July 2012.
VicHealth congratulates Grant Miles (Trader forgoes $80,000 in bid to clean up Footscray streets, The Age 17 July 2012) for his proactive stance on reducing alcohol abuse and public drunkenness.
By tearing up his liquor licence Mr Miles will make a difference.
There is growing evidence, both internationally and from Australia demonstrating strong links between alcohol outlet density and rates of alcohol-related problems – particularly violence.
Research shows an increase in the number of outlets contributes to more assaults, while areas where numbers decrease generally see fewer assaults. This is a consistent finding.
A VicHealth and Turning Point investigation into the concentration of liquor outlets also revealed residents in the poorest areas of Victoria have up to six times more bottleshops in their neighbourhoods than those well-off.
This is cause for concern, due to the health and social problems directly correlated to alcohol availability.
Mr Miles pointed out there were still a number of bottleshops operating in the area, and they could reduce alcohol-related harm by reducing availability of cheap alcohol – a stance backed by VicHealth.
Well done Mr Miles, your actions will have a positive impact on your local community and we hope other traders follow your lead.