Cancer Council WA is urging the WA Government to introduce a minimum unit price (MUP) on alcohol, as an evaluation report from the Northern Territory indicates alcohol-fuelled harms have significantly reduced following the introduction of a $1.30 minimum price per standard drink in 2018.
Cancer Council WA Alcohol Program Manager, Julia Stafford, said the report shows that minimum pricing has helped to achieve exactly what it was intended to do - reduce alcohol-fuelled harm.
"The evaluation found that since a minimum price of $1.30 per standard drink was introduced in the NT, total alcohol supply had reduced along with substantial reductions across a range of areas including alcohol-related assault offences, ambulance attendances, emergency department presentations, road traffic crashes, and child protection orders," Ms Stafford said.
"The Northern Territory Government is to be congratulated for the difference these measures have made to the health and safety of NT families and communities.
"Where there is easy access to cheap alcohol, there will be preventable problems."
Ms Stafford said now was the opportune time to revisit the implementation of a MUP policy in WA.
"Now more than ever, it is imperative we prevent extra burdens on already-stretched hospitals and health services." she said.
"We encourage the WA Government to move ahead with minimum pricing, which now has substantial real-world evidence from Australia and elsewhere, and was recommended as a priority action in WA's Sustainable Health Review. "
Ms Stafford said when it comes to cancer risk, there is no safe level of alcohol use.
"There is convincing evidence that alcohol is a cause of seven cancers including cancers of the mouth, pharynx, larynx, oesophagus, liver, bowel, and breast," she said.
"It is not just heavy drinking that increases cancer risk. Even drinking small amounts increases the chance of developing cancer. The more you drink and the more often you drink, the greater your risk.
"A minimum price for alcohol is likely to reduce drinking among those at greatest risk of harms, including cancer, caused by long term alcohol use."
Learn more about alcohol and cancer here.