ABA Chairman: Don’t demonise our industry

16 August, 2017 by Andy Young

Alcohol Beverages Australia (ABA) Chairman Giuseppe Minissale has highlighted the positive economic and social contributions made by Australia’s alcohol industry and called on politicians not to demonise the industry.

Speaking to Federal politicians and key alcohol industry stakeholders at the inaugural ABA Celebration of the Industry Dinner in Canberra on Tuesday night, Minissale highlighted three key elements of the alcohol beverages industry in Australia.

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“Firstly its size,” Minissale said. “The industry spans thousands of businesses, both big and small. Our industry includes about 2500 wineries, 6500 packaged liquor outlets, best in class breweries, 9000 hotels and pubs, 750 bars, 134 craft distilleries, 10,915 awesome clubs and 23,845 diverse cafés and restaurants.

“We provide jobs for more than 400,000 Australians. To put that into perspective that is almost double the mining industry and 100,000 more than agriculture, forestry and fishing combined. We inject more than $25bn every year into the Australian economy, and we send a very helpful $6bn plus in tax revenue to Canberra.”

Minissale added: “Secondly the alcohol beverages industry is evolving. Our products, how people buy them and enjoy them and importantly Australian’s attitudes toward drinking are all changing. The most pleasing reflection of these changes are the fantastic long-term downward trends we continue to see in problem drinking statistics.

“We are drinking less per capita than we have for 50 years; 82 per cent of young people aged 12-17 have not had a drink at all before they turn 18. Once they do, the number of teens that drink at risky levels is continuing to decline.”

The final point Minissale made was to call on politicians to consider all these aspects before voting on regulatory changes for the industry.

“Finally,” he said, “Alcohol Beverages Australia was created to highlight the positive social, cultural and economic contribution of our industry to the fabric of the Australian way of life.

“The successes we’ve had reflect an industry with a growing determination to work together to promote its great products, to change the way people think about them and to ensure we continue to see evidence-based strategies prevail in public policy.

“What we ask of you, as our elected representatives, is simply that you don’t demonise alcohol, or our industry, and you demand evidence – and interrogate that evidence – before you vote for regulation or reform affecting our sector.

“We look forward to working with Parliament, our consumers and the community at large to ensure our industry and the people who work in it can continue to evolve and prosper.”

The ABA’s Celebration of Industry dinner saw many Federal politicians in attendance, with Shadow Minister for Trade and Investment, Jason Clare MP, describing the alcohol industry as “a great industry with a bright future”.