A profile of alcohol-related harm in NSW


Alcohol free zone

Before a packaged liquor licence is approved in NSW, the community are given an opportunity to raise their concerns through the Community Impact Statement process. So begins a process of examining the harms caused by alcohol in a community and what effect increased outlets or venues may cause.

Impact of alcohol on community

In their Evidence Check on the Community Impact of Liquor Licences, the Sax Institute examined the association between alcohol availability, alcohol consumption and harms. From their investigation of 191 published studies on alcohol availability and harm, they found:

  • "increases in alcohol outlet density were associated with poorer health outcomes, including increased alcohol-related presentations to emergency departments"
  • "there was strong Australian evidence that increased alcohol density was associated with increased rates of assault and family violence"
  • "increasing trading hours tends to result in higher rates of harm, and restricting trading hours tends to reduce harm"

Alcohol-related harm hot spots

Liquor & Gaming NSW recently launched LiveData, an online tool that helps communities identify the density of licenced venues in their area, alongside data on alcohol-related assaults, domestic violence and offences. LiveData combines real-time data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics, NSW HealthStats and the NSW Crime Tool.

When a new licence or change in liquor licence is being considered by Liquor & Gaming NSW, a range of agencies can comment on the application via the Community Impact Statement. These agencies include local health districts, police and community members, usually through Community Drug Action Teams (CDATs). They use a combination of collected data on alcohol-related health issues, crime and other harms, along with anecdotes or personal statements from local community members about the current or potential risks.

Communities take action

Dedicated CDAT volunteers are local people of all ages working to come up with solutions to alcohol and other drug issues in their communities. Their work aims to help at-risk groups, educate others in their community and help NSW Health and other government bodies minimise the harm caused by alcohol and other drugs. 

CDATs and the general public can provide input to licence applications using the Alcohol and Drug Foundation's (ADF) Alcohol toolkit.

If you would like to be involved in your local CDAT or you would like more information about the program visit adf.org.au/programs/community-drug-action-teams-nsw.

For free and confidential advice 24/7 call the Alcohol and Drug Information Service (ADIS) on 1800 250 015. Counsellors are available to provide information, referrals, crisis counselling and support. Or start a Web Chat with an ADIS counsellor online Monday to Friday, 8.30am – 5pm. ADIS can also provide up-to-date information about service availability in your area during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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