ABS survey explores alcohol consumption

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Today’s ABS release continues to paint a positive picture for Australian society, with the long term trend showing Australia’s drinking culture is increasingly one where moderation is the new norm.

Risky drinking rates are falling for both men and women, and young 18-24 year olds are showing themselves as the generation of moderation.

CEO of Alcohol Beverages Australia, Andrew Wilsmore, said today “With more than four out of five (84.8%) Australians consuming less than two standard drinks a day, we can proudly say Australians are making sensible choices and choosing to act responsibly when it comes to enjoying alcohol.

“The survey also covers the first year of Australia’s pandemic response, and despite concerns about the potential for increased harmful drinking at home, this data proves that Australians maintained a sensible relationship with alcohol despite being locked down.

“Comparing drinking during covid to their drinking 12 months prior, two thirds (66.4%) reported their consumption had stayed about the same; nearly one in four (23.9%) reported decreased consumption; and fewer than one in ten (9.8%) reported increased consumption.

“It is pleasing to see the proportion of people drinking more than two standard drinks a day declining from 19.5 percent in 2011-12 to 15.2 percent in 2020-21. It’s a trend that says Australians are increasingly capable of making sensible, personal decisions around their own consumption.

“Young adults were less likely to drink more than two drinks a day compared with older adults and are really proving themselves as the generation of responsible moderation. One in ten (10.1%) young adults aged 18-24 years exceeded two drinks a day compared with just over one in five (20%) adults aged 55-64 years.

“We think more carefully about how we drink these days,” said Mr Wilsmore. “Australians are making conscious decisions to moderate and drink responsibly, with big trends during covid seeing Australians choosing to drink less, but spending more on a premium product, or exploring low and zero-alcohol products.

“It’s a strong message to those who want to regulate drinkers ever further. Australians are doing the right thing by drinking responsibly and at the same time backing an industry that supports the livelihoods of 485,000 people and generates $52 billion in economic value.”

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