Responsible Service of Alcohol News: Huge Cost of Alcohol Harm

We often consider the emotional and physical costs of alcohol abuse on the community and individuals in particular when discussing alcohol harm but we seldom consider the huge financial cost alcohol related harm has on the Australian society.

A recent article on discusses a study which estimates alcohol related harm at more than $14 billion in 2012, which was double the amount of revenue collected in tax and excise.

The study by researchers at Griffith University undertook the study on behalf of the Australian Institute of Criminology. This huge financial cost of alcohol related harm was the key finding of the report.

The authors of the study have suggested a substantial amount of the government’s revenue generated from alcohol taxes should go towards diversion and prevention strategies to tackle the issue head-on and at the root rather than having to deal with the consequences.

Read more about the study below with an excerpt from the post on :

The Commonwealth raised $7 billion in total tax revenue in 2010 from alcohol products through excise and GST revenue.

Matthew Manning, a co-author of The Societal Costs Of Alcohol Misuse In Australia, said the paper built on a series of costings carried out over the past decade by David Collins and Helen Lapsley and showed the extent of damage that alcohol caused to the economy.

Of the $14.352 billion estimate, $6.046 billion involved costs to Australian productivity, $3.662 billion were costs associated with traffic accidents, $2.9 billion comprised costs to the criminal justice system and $1.686 billion represented costs to the health system.

Dr Manning made the point the total did not incorporate the negative impacts on others – estimated at more than $6 billion – associated with someone else’s drinking.

Productivity losses, which accounted for almost half of the total cost, were calculated as the sum of reduced workforce and household labour due to premature death, reduced household labour due to sickness and reduced workforce participation due to absenteeism.

The criminal justice system costs were made up of police (38% of total), child protection and support services (8%), prisons (21%), plus insurance administration (1%), to courts (3%) and other organisations such as detox, counselling and victims services, associated with addressing violence (29%).


Servers of alcohol should never underestimate the role they play in keeping this high financial cost to the country down. Employees of the hospitality industry that are involved with the sale of alcohol must ensure that they do not contribute to the alcohol fuelled problems and therefore cost to the economy.

As an RSA worker, you must constantly ask yourself whether or not you have done all you can reduce the numbers of alcohol fuelled incidents and minimise the huge financial impact on the community and Australian society in general. Have you fulfilled your duties by, not serving minors, not serving intoxicated patrons, recognizing the signs of intoxication and acting accordingly?