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Drink driving, drunk swimming and more assaults than any other public holiday Happy Australia Day!

24 January 2014

Doctors issue a sober warning for Australia Day celebrations, with the day now synonymous with alcohol and drug-fuelled injuries.

"The Australia Day weekend is now marred by a serious increase in assaults, drownings and car crashes that occur. Last Australia Day there were 121 assaults in Victoria, which is almost double that of an average day", AMA Victoria President, Dr Stephen Parnis, said today.

"And over the past five years in Victoria, there have been 14 fatalities and 352 serious injury road collisions during the Australia Day weekend. We must reduce the human toll over the long weekend", Dr Parnis said.

"Alcohol is often a contributor in these incidents and it is disappointing that the major alcohol retailers are adding fuel to the fire with their "stock up for Australia Day" specials. These advertising promotions reinforce an alcohol-obsessed culture which is seeing too many young lives ruined by rash decisions, and too many older Australians suffering from the effects of alcohol-induced chronic disease", Dr Parnis said.

"Australia Day is a day to reflect on what it means to be Australian, to catch up with friends and family, many will be attending citizenship ceremonies and others will simply be enjoying a long weekend. I cannot reinforce how sad it is to be in an emergency care department or intensive care unit at this time. AMA Victoria urges all Victorians to take it easy this weekend; have fun, but be safe," Dr Parnis said.

The AMA has called for the Federal Government to convene a National Summit to address the epidemic of alcohol misuse and harms afflicting local communities.

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Media contact
Felicity Ryan
Media & Public Affairs Officer
Australian Medical Association Victoria
Telephone: (03) 9280 8753
Mobile: 0437 450 506
Email: felicityr@amavic.com.au

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