Standing up for Canberra

Alcohol and other Drugs Council of Australia

I have spoken about my despair at the Abbott government's decision to axe the Alcohol and other Drugs Council of Australia many times. After 48 years of providing frank and fearless advice to policymakers to reduce the harm caused by alcohol and other drugs, tomorrow ADCA will close its doors for good.

In recent months Australians have been confronted by alcohol related violence in our society. We mourn the death of Daniel Christie. We were troubled that alcohol-related violence in the NT has increased by 15 per cent in the last year. I have no doubt that every single member wants to reduce alcohol and drug related harm, so why close ADCA, the peak organisation working to achieve that? Minister Nash has failed to provide us with a reason. She first said ADCA had a history of financial mismanagement, which was proved to be completely untrue. She then said the work of its incredible resource library was duplicated, only to retract that statement. This library is the only resource of its kind in the world and it would now seem it is destined for the shredder. I wonder if the decision had anything to do with the connections between her former chief of staff and the alcohol industry.

The AMA says closing ADCA is a bad idea. The National Alliance for Action on Alcohol says it is a bad idea. The Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education says it is a bad idea. In fact, nobody who works in this sector thinks it is a good idea. Today, in the name of preventative health and wellbeing, I implore the minister to reverse her decision.

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