Alcohol policy and health promotion: rhetoric and Reality

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This paper examines the economic and political constraints on the development of Australian policy directed at the prevention of alcohol‐related health problems. An analysis is made of recent official statements and enquiries and it is argued that heightened concern about prevention arose in the context of budgetary problems and the need for governments to find ways of containing expenditure in the welfare area. The effectiveness of current efforts is called into question by the real nature of the constraints on health, and of the disparity between prevention rhetoric and policy implementation. It is suggested that government statements of intent to reduce the overall level of alcohol comsumption in the community entail no clear‐cut commitment to a particular strategy or set of strategies, and that recent government actions indicate the limited possibilities for the implementation of such a policy. Any policies governments are likely to pursue are unlikely to disrupt major sources of government revenue. Because of the high profile that governments have created for the problem, there is the possibility that the policies that are adopted will be politically expedient in the short‐term rather than providing real solutions.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)333-344
Number of pages12
JournalAustralian Journal of Social Issues
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1987
Externally publishedYes

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