When you think of what Australia’s past times are, you often think of beaches, the great outdoors and football. However, what has become a tainted trend in recent years has been the drinking problem that has formed part of the ‘Aussie culture’.
Alcohol usage has become more and more recognized by state and federal government as the effects of our excessive consumption levels is becoming exposed. The levels of funding that has gone towards Alcohol awareness and Behaviour advertisements is a price that is a blight on Australian society as it reflects how certain Australian groups are unable to control their behaviour as well as alcohol intake. If the Australian pastime for after work drinks was a coffee much like European countries instead of half a dozen ‘schooners’ then the public government would be saving an incredible amount of time and money that could be used more resourcefully. The introduction of awareness charities (Get Back Think) that warn youngsters to protect each other when out on the grog as well as restrictions on liquor licenses are examples of the lengths that are being taken to discourage behaviour that may stem from alcohol.
However, what may be the biggest initiative is the increase in the alcohol excise that the government has exponentially increased in the last decade. It started with the government targeting RTD (ready to drink) spirits as they became ready and cheap alternatives for drinkers whilst beer also almost doubled in price.
The actions by the government have been very reactionary; however, they are necessary. There is little that can stop this unsustainable national pastime, as disposable income is easy to come by in a country where an eighteen-year old bartender can earn more than a professional architect, on top of an unemployment rate that is less than 6%.
The affects that this mentality to alcohol has had on Australia affects the citys streets and planning greatly. Numerous areas in Melbourne’s CBD on the weekend are deemed dangerous due to the density of night goers who overindulge in the litany of pubs and clubs. Cop cars and spot fights are seen in hot spots such as King St and Russel St and tarnish the city. This behaviour raises significant issues with the city councils efforts to increase housing density in the CBD as well tarnishes the ability for numerous new bars and restaurants to attain liquor licenses. Furthermore, if the city council wants to showcase features such as Federation Square, Yarra River and Flinders St Station it must try and address the behaviour of Melburnians who frequent the sites during weekends and public holidays as this is when the city is on show to tourists and the public.
How have other countries controlled their alcohol problem?
Credits: Photographs by Steven Petsinis. Data linked to sources.