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When will Australia tackle its alcohol toll?

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SF/191. Wednesday September 19, 2007

WHEN WILL AUSTRALIA TACKLE ITS ALCOHOL TOLL? Alcohol kills three times more Australians than all illicit drugs combined, yet no one in Government or Opposition is serious about tackling our alcohol toll. That is a national disgrace.

"As a nation, we have tackled our road toll, our drug toll and our tobacco toll," Family First leader Steve Fielding said. "And we have had success."

"Instead of waiting for the Government to act, Family First will today introduce new laws to reduce our alcohol toll and change our binge drinking culture."

Family First's Alcohol Toll Reduction Act 2007 will:  Require health information labels on all alcohol products;  Restrict TV and radio alcohol advertising to after 9pm and before 5am to stop alcohol being marketed to young people;  Require all alcohol ads to be pre-approved by a government body

comprising an expert from the medical profession, alcohol and drug support sector, accident trauma support sector and the alcohol industry. Currently the alcohol industry is self-regulated which is a joke;  Ban alcohol ads which are aimed at children or which link drinking to personal, business, social, sporting, sexual or other success.

The Bill is supported by the Australian Drug Foundation and Arbias, which researches alcohol's link to brain damage.

"I have raised this with the Prime Minister, the Health Minister and the Opposition Leader, who say they are concerned, but still haven't taken tough action," Senator Fielding said. "That's no surprise when you look at the massive revenue the Government receives from alcohol taxes and the power of the alcohol lobby. The Distilled Spirits Industry Council of Australia has given over $200,000 to the Coalition over the last nine years. Family First's top concern is the health of families, not alcohol lobby groups."

For media enquiries phone Chief of Staff Felicity de Fombelle on 0409 550 446