Wednesday 22 January 2014

The NSW Government’s resolve to tackle drug and alcohol-fuelled violence is understandable but more needs to be done to understand the causes of our society’s binge drinking culture and aggressive behaviours, the Australian Christian Lobby said today.

“To effectively deal with the problem, we need to better understand what motivates a large number of people to get drunk in public from week to week in our cities,” ACL Managing Director Lyle Shelton said.

“As a society we need to be looking at ways of moving away from a binge drinking culture.

“Binge drinking combined with illicit drugs contributes to the violence we are seeing on our streets. It is the underlying roots of this culture that need more focus in the debate.

“There is nothing wrong with going out and having a good time, but drunkenness associated with this continues to cause harm and even death.

“Individuals need to take greater personal responsibility and we as a community need to be far more intentional about modelling moderate and safe consumption of alcohol. There is no reason why, with community resolve, that binge drinking could not go the same way as smoking in terms of social acceptance,” Mr Shelton said.

Mr Shelton welcomed changes to closing times for bottle shops and inner city venues and moves to increase police presence.

“The increased police powers in regard to precinct bans, increased on-the-spot fines, drug and alcohol testing of suspects appeared to be reasonable practical measures,” he said.

While community concern about lenient sentences was understandable, Mr Shelton said ACL was concerned that mandatory sentencing was not the solution.