Why we studied this topic
We know reducing access to alcohol is an essential and cost-effective way to decreasing alcohol consumption and associated harm, yet for the most part, area-based regulatory alcohol policies do not exist in Australia. We also wanted to understand how alcohol outlet density impacted the long-term health of people living in areas of more or less social disadvantage.
What this paper adds
Most research has measured the effect of density of alcohol outlets by looking at immediate impacts, such an injury and domestic violence. We showed that the location and density of alcohol outlets had no impact on the long-term health of people living in better-off communities, but having access to more alcohol outlets negatively impacted those living in more disadvantaged communities.
What it means for policy
Our measures can help give policy makers ‘more teeth’ to regulate the location of alcohol outlets, especially in areas with more social disadvantage.
What was surprising?
We found only a few state policies for where alcohol outlets should be located, and none took into account the demographics of the region.