Alcohol-related harms on Australia Day are higher than other days and are getting worse.
Australia Day is a time where people like to celebrate our unique Australian culture by relaxing with family and friends, with a picnic at a local fireworks display or maybe a barbecue at home.
As with many Australian social activities, relaxed views towards alcohol and easy acceptance of harmful alcohol consumption can lead to Australia Day celebrations being tarnished by the consequences of drinking too much.
One significant consequence is an increase in the number of alcohol-related hospitalisations. From 2008 to 2012, alcohol-related hospitalisations on Australia Day increased by 51% in Western Australia. 1
The increase in alcohol-related hospitalisations is not confined to Australia Day itself, but is also seen on the day before and the day after.
The average alcohol-related hospitalisations across Australia Day and the days before and after, was 17% higher compared to the daily average for 2012.1
Research conducted in Victoria from 2008 to 2009 showed a similar finding with significant increases in alcohol-related incidents in the lead up to most public holidays, particularly the days before New Year’s Day, Australia Day, Good Friday, ANZAC Day and the last working day before Christmas’.2
This same research also found that on Australia Day:
Emergency Department presentations are additional and not included in hospitalisations. This places an even greater burden on hospital services.
The costs associated of alcohol-related hospitalisations are largely preventable. For tips on how to reduce the potential alcohol-related harm this Australia Day click here.
The information provided is the most recent data available.
1 Epidemiology Branch (2014). Alcohol related hospitalisations, specific days; WA Hospital Morbidity Data System 2008-2012. Perth: Department of Health WA. [data extracted October 14, 2014]
2 Lloyd B. Drinking cultures and social occasions – public holidays, Research summary. Turning Point Alcohol and Drug Centre. Retrieved from https://www.vichealth.vic.gov.au/media-and-resources/publications/drinking-cultures-and-social-occasions
Research has conclusively shown that hazardous and harmful alcohol use in Australia results in high economic and social costs to the community.
The Responsible Service of Alcohol Campaign aims to increase community understanding of the legal requirements of responsible service in licensed premises.
Alcohol contributes to significant health, social and economic costs for workplaces. Preventing alcohol-related harm provides benefits for employers and employees.
Alcohol education that provides consistent messages about alcohol, at school and by parents, can help to reduce alcohol-related harm among young people in a school community.
Call the Alcohol and Drug Support Line on (08) 9442 5000 or 1800 198 024 toll free for country callers.
For emergencies call the 000 emergency line.