"It fits the needs of the community": Long-term evaluation of the Norseman Voluntary Liquor Agreement

Richard Midford, John Mckenzie, Rachel Mayhead

Research output: Book/ReportOther reportpeer-review


In the early 2000s, members of Norseman’s Indigenous community became increasingly concerned that heavy alcohol consumption was the main cause of chronic health problems in their town. There was also a clear recognition that certain types of packaged liquor were particularly associated with this problematic drinking.

As a result of extensive community consultation, the Norseman Voluntary Alcohol Agreement was implemented in 2008 and remains to this day.

The agreement restricted alcohol sales from the town’s liquor outlet to between midday and 6pm, and placed a cap on cask wine limiting purchases to one cask per person per day. In 2009, this was extended to also include a limit of one 750ml bottle of fortified wine and full strength beer a day.

This report builds on the original evaluation of these restrictions, conducted in 2009, to assess whether the Agreement has been able to maintain its initial benefits. A mixed methods approach has been employed, with secular (long-term), quantitative, alcohol consumption and harm data and qualitative interview data collected from a number of different sources.

There is a gap in the alcohol data from May 2009 to October 2012 because of a change in wholesale supplier. This resulted in three distinct periods when data was reported:

• before the initial restrictions (December 2006 to February 2008)
• after the initial restrictions (March 2008 to May 2009)
• and follow-up (October 2012 to December 2014).

Accordingly, differences in consumption have been measured between these three periods. Beer consumption has not been included because the wholesale sales data was unreliable.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationCanberra
PublisherFoundation for Alcohol Research and Education
Number of pages29
ISBN (Print)978-0-9944917-4-9
Publication statusPublished - 2016


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