The Alcohol Working Committee was established under section 39 of the National Health and Medical Research Council Act 1992, to oversee the revision of the 2009 Australian Guidelines to Reduce Health Risks from Drinking Alcohol. 

Members of the committee were selected to ensure appropriate expertise in the areas of drug and alcohol research, epidemiology, biostatistics, addiction, mental health, clinical and public health, fetal alcohol spectrum disorder, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health and consumer interests. 

Terms of reference

Members were appointed to the committee from 23 May 2016 to 30 March 2021. The terms of reference specified the committee would:

  • Consider the process for development of the 2009 Guidelines and identify priority areas for review.
  • Guide the development of an evaluation of the evidence, including modelling, on the health effects of drinking alcohol, focusing on studies/data published since 2007.
  • Consider the outcomes of the evidence evaluation, and use these findings to inform the update of NHMRC’s Australian Guidelines to Reduce Health Risks from Drinking Alcohol 2009.
  • Consider comments received during consultation on the draft revised guidelines.
  • Update the revised draft with consideration to comments received from public consultation and expert review.

Chair,
Professor
Kate
Conigrave

Senior Staff Specialist and Professor of Addiction Medicine at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital and Sydney Medical School, the University of Sydney.

Declaration

  • Has held past and present NHMRC research grants in the alcohol field, and is likely to apply for future research funding from NHMRC.
  • A former Board member of the Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education (until February 2017). 
  • Past research and education grants from the Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education (the last 12-month grant awarded in 2013)
  • Member of the organising committee for a 2006 conference which received funding from Drinkwise.
  • Previous consultancies to government bodies and to local and international agencies.
  • A member of a number of associations which advocate to reduce harms from alcohol, including:
    • Royal Australasian College of Physicians.
    • The Aboriginal Drug and Alcohol Network (NSW, associate member) and The University of Sydney.
  • Received travel funding from a Swedish research collaboration working to improve patient safety for surgical patients with risky alcohol intake.
  • Co-editor of a book from which royalties are received: Saunders JB, Conigrave KM, Latt NC, Nutt DJ, Marshall EJ, Ling W, Higuchi S. Addiction Medicine. 2nd ed: Oxford University Press; 2016
  • Many publications in the alcohol field, including on potential benefits to specific areas of health, on harms from alcohol and harm prevention, advocating for improved policy, and early detection, prevention and treatment of alcohol problems.  
  • Twitter posts and media interviews commenting on approaches to reduce harms from alcohol. Topics include raising public awareness of the health effects of alcohol and advocating for evidence-based policy to reduce harms from alcohol.
     

Professor
Emily
Banks

Researcher in chronic disease epidemiology at the Australian National University.

Declaration

Holds, and has held, research grants from NHMRC, NSW Heart Foundation Cardiovascular Research Network and the Australian Primary Health Care Institute Centre of Research Excellence in cardiovascular disease, Aboriginal health and pharmaco-epidemiology. 

  • Committee Membership: 
    • Chair of the Advisory Committee on the Safety of Medicines.
    • Chair of Advisory Committee on the Safety of Vaccines.
    • Member of Drug Utilisation Sub-Committee.
    • Member of Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee.
    • Member of National Research and Data Advisory Group for Cancer Australia.
  • Publications on the health effects of alcohol including cancer, cardiovascular diseases, cirrhosis and gallbladder diseases.

Professor
Tanya
Chikritzhs

Professor at the National Drug Research Institute, Curtin University.

Declaration

Member of Board of Directors (unpaid), Australian Drug Foundation (NGO). 

  • Consultancy fees/honorarium:
    • WA Drug and Alcohol Office: Quantifying the cost of alcohol to the Western Australian Government. 
    • 2015 WA Drug and Alcohol Office: Development of an estimate of the harm impact and related costs associated with particular recommendations of the independent review of the Liquor Control Act 1988. 
    • 2014 ANPHA: Provision of alcohol data analysis for the preventative health report, 2013.
    • 2020 NHMRC: Peer Review Analysis Committee.
  • Support for travel or accommodation:
    • 2013-2019, Economy and business class airfare and accommodation support to Gothenburg, Sweden to attend annual meeting of expert review panel funded by the Swedish Society of Medicine and Swedish IOGT-NTO.
    • 2015-2016, Business class airfare Stockholm, Sweden and accommodation and expenses support for attending review of Swedish Government's Systembolaget.
    • 2018, Business class airfare and accommodation support to Helsinki, Finland to attend review of Finnish Government’s Alko monopoly. 
  • Expert Testimony: 
    • Expert witness for the Executive Director of Public Health on 6 occasions between 2001 and 2008 
    • Expert witness for the City of Joondalup.
    • 2008 Expert witness for the City of Darebin.
    • 2007 Expert witness for the City of Subiaco. 
    • 2007 and 2004 Expert witness for WA Department of Racing Gaming and Liquor.
  • Over 250 peer-reviewed journal articles, reports and book chapters on evaluations of alcohol policy and alcohol epidemiology.
     

Dr
Rebecca
Armstrong

Director Knowledge Translation, National Disability Insurance Agency.

Declaration

  • Employed by the National Disability Insurance Agency.
  • Co-Editor in Chief, Implementation Science Communications. 
  • Numerous publications on evidence synthesis processes and methods.

Dr
Michael
Livingston

Post-Doctoral Research Fellow at the Centre for Alcohol Policy Research, since 2006, originally at Turning Point and now at La Trobe University. The Centre for Alcohol Policy Research receives its core funding from the Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education.

Declaration

  • Holds, and has held, research grants from the Australian Research Council, National health and Medical Research Council, Systembolaget (Sweden), The Sax Institute, VicHealth, WA Mental Health Commission, HealthWay, The Queensland Mental Health Commission and the Australian National Preventative Health Agency on trends and patterns of alcohol consumption and harm. 
  • 2009-2012 Sidney Myer foundation PhD scholarship contribution from the Australian Rechabite Foundation. 
  • Board member of Australian Rechabite Foundation, a foundation that funds research and community programs aimed at reducing alcohol-related harm. 
  • Chair of Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists’ Faculty of Addiction Psychiatry Members of Victoria’s Ice Taskforce and Expert Taskforce on Mental Health Involvement in organisation of meetings and conference related to addiction.
  • Support for travel or accommodation:
    • 2019, Received tickets to the Health Minister’s debate from the Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education. 
    • Flights and Accommodation to attend a meeting in Canberra organised by the Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education to discuss future research into liquor licensing issues. 
  • Expert testimony in liquor licensing hearings - as part of his role in the Centre for Alcohol Policy Research.
  •  Regular submissions and expert evidence (on a pro bono basis) for local councils who are challenging the granting of liquor licences in the planning or licensing systems in Victoria.
  • Numerous publications on trends and patterns of alcohol consumption and harm in Australia, with some papers having particular relevance to the low-risk drinking guidelines.

Professor
Dan
Lubman

Director, Turning Point at Eastern Health, and Professor of Addiction Studies and Services at Monash University.  

Declaration

  • Holds, and has held, research grants from NHMRC, Victorian and Federal Department of Health, ANPHA, BeyondBlue, ARC, FARE, National Drug Law Enforcement Fund, Movember, the Jack Brockoff Foundation, and the Lord Mayor’s Charitable Foundation for mental health and impacts of drug and alcohol use, addiction, and use, particularly in young people and older people.
  • Chair of Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists' Faculty of Addiction Psychiatry.
  • Member of Victoria's Ice Taskforce and Expert Taskforce on Mental Health Involvement in organisation of meetings and conferences related to addiction.
  • Support for travel or accommodation:
    • Travel support from conference organisers to present work at national and international conferences.
    • Travel support and meal provision to attend meetings of the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists.
    • Travel support to attend meetings of the National Cannabis Prevention and Information Centre. 
    • Travel support to attend meetings of the Lundbeck Institute.
  • Honoraria for talks during 2015 – Janssen and Astra Zeneca, and further talk for Astra Zeneca in June 2016.
  • Teaching undergraduate and postgraduate classes at Monash University and Turning Points. Classes cover topics closely related to the activities of the AWC.
  • Numerous academic research papers in academic research journals. In some cases, these papers cover alcohol dependence or harms.
  • Numerous plenary, keynote and invited speeches at national and international conferences.
  • Expert Testimony for multiple public submissions for state and federal inquiries related to alcohol and drug, gambling and mental health issues.

Dr
Colleen
O’Leary

Coordinator, Standards Monitoring at Western Australian Office of the Chief Psychiatrist and Adjunct Research Associate at Telethon Kids Institute.

Declaration

  • Holds, and has held, research grants from NHMRC, ARC, McCusker Foundation, Commonwealth Department of Health and Ageing, and Healthway for of the impact of prenatal alcohol exposure, FASD, including for health professionals working in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health care settings
  • Support for travel or accommodation:
    • The Canadian FASD Prevalence Plan Forum hosted jointly by Health Child Manitoba and Public Health Canada.
    • NHMRC Grant Review panel member 2010.
    • The Injury Control Council of WA Community Safety and Injury Prevention Conference, Geraldton WA 2009.
    • The ICGD Alcohol and Pregnancy workshop 2008.
  • Numerous publications relating to alcohol and pregnancy.
  • Given a range of presentations on alcohol and pregnancy and FASD for government, non-government, and academic institutions. 
     

Professor
Alison
Ritter

Director at Drug Policy Modelling Program, Social Policy Research Centre, UNSW 

Declaration

  • Holds, and has held, Category 1 grants from the NHMRC, the ARC, the Criminology Research Council, the National Drug Law Enforcement Research Fund (NDLERF)
  • Holds and had held grants from government (NSW Ministry of Health, NSW Police, Victorian Department of Health, Queensland Department of Health, Queensland Corrective Services,  Tasmanian Department of Health, NT Department of Health, ACT Department of Health, ACT Justice and Community Safety Directorate, Australian Government Department of Health. 
  • Holds and has held grants from other grant bodies (Queensland network of Alcohol and Drug Agencies, Australian National Advisory Council on Alcohol and Drugs (ANACAD), NSW Network of Alcohol and Drug Agencies (NADA), Menzies School of Health Research, Queensland Mental Health Commission, Australian National Council on Drugs) 
  • Held grants from the Colonial Foundation Trust 
  • Board member, Alcohol and Drug Council of Australia (ADCA), 2010 to 2019. NGO, not-for-profit peak body representing alcohol and drug treatment services, research centres.
  • Past President, International Society for the Study of Drug Policy (2015-2016).
  • Past President, Australasian Professional Society on Alcohol & Drugs (from 2007-2011)
  • Advisory Board member, LaTrobe University Centre for Alcohol Policy Research (2015 to current).
  • All Board membership is unpaid, to support research on the reduction of alcohol and other drug-related harm.
  • Editorial responsibilities
    • Editor in Chief, International Journal of Drug Policy (2020 to current)
    • Senior Editor, International Journal of Drug Policy (2017-2019)
    • Associate Editor, International Journal of Drug Policy (2011-2017)
    • Executive Editor, Drug and Alcohol Review (2006-2011)
  • Committee Membership (unpaid):
    • Member, Alcohol and other Drug Treatment Services NMDS Working Group (2018 to current)
    • Member, Alcohol and Other Drug Treatment Services Data Development Reference Group (AIHW) (2018 to current)
    • NHMRC Alcohol Guidelines Expert Committee (2016 to current)
    • Scientific Advisory Committee, UNODC World Drug Report (2015 to current)
    • Advisory Panel Member, Development of needs-based planning models for substance use services and supports in Canada (Health Canada funded) (2011 to current)
    • Chair, Drug Policy Working Group, National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA funded) (2011 to current)
    • Member, NSW Needle and Syringe Program Planning Network (2014 - 2018)
    • Member, National Drug Strategy Household Survey Technical Advisory Group (2009 - 2017)
    • Member, Alcohol’s Harm to Others Advisory Group (2012 - 2014)
    • Member, Global Science Group for Addictions and Lifestyles in Contemporary Europe (ALICE) project (EU funded) (2011 - 2015)
    • Member, Expert Steering Committee on Drug and Alcohol Treatment (2011-2012)
    • Chair, Expert Reference Group, National Drug and Alcohol Clinical Care and Prevention Modelling Project (2010 to 2013)
    • Member, Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing Partners In Recovery Expert Reference Group (2012 to 2014)
       

Professor
Robert
Ali

Director, Community Based Treatment Drug and Alcohol Service SA and Director, WHO Collaborating Centre.

Declaration

  • Holds, and has held, grants from NHMRC. 
  • NHMRC - Review of Recommendations Regarding Responsible Drinking Behaviour (1998).
  • Commonwealth Department of Health and Ageing – National Alcohol Treatment Guidelines Advisory Committee (2008).
  • Cochrane Editorial Board – Drug & Alcohol Group, since 1997.
  • WHO Expert Advisory Panel on Drug Dependence and Alcohol Problems since 2002. 
     

Dr
Peter
D’Abbs

Honorary Fellow, Menzies School of Health Research.

Declaration

  • Holds or has held, grants from Northern Territory Department of Health, Northern Territory Primary Health Network, Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet for patterns and consequences of alcohol and other drug use, and on interventions to change those patterns and consequences. Australian Brewers’ Foundation grant in 2001 for Northern Territory Living With Alcohol Program 1991-2000: A policy analysis.  
  • Member of the Board of Directors of the Alcohol Education and Rehabilitation Foundation (subsequently renamed the Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education (FARE)): 2001 to 2010 inclusive.
  • Honorary Professor in the School of Public Health, University of Queensland. 
  • Member of the Editorial Board of the journal Substance Abuse Treatment, Prevention and Policy. 
  • Accepted a one-way economy airfare to present a paper at the 14th Annual Australian Wine Industry Technical Conference, 3-8 July 2010, in Adelaide. 
  • Numerous publications, reports and talks about patterns and consequences of alcohol use, interventions to change patterns and consequences, and about alcohol use and associated issues. 
  • Spouse holds a position as Business Development Manager (Eastern Markets), City Winery, Brisbane. 
     

Professor
Mark
Harris

Professor of General Practice, Scientia Professor, and Executive Director at the Centre for Primary Health and Equity, the University of New South Wales.

Declaration

  • Holds, and has held, grants from NHMRC, Australian Primary Care Research Institute and Canadian Institute of Health, and Australian Primary Care Research Institute in collaboration with UTS, University of Sydney, University of Adelaide, University of Queensland and Deakin University for primary care in vulnerable groups and obesity prevention and management in primary health care. 
  • Member of the Board of Directors of Central and Eastern Sydney Primary Health Network. 
  • Deputy Director of the UNSW Translational Cancer Research Network.
  • Consultancy fees/honorarium for the Evaluation of Primary Health Network in collaboration with Ernst and Young and Monash as an evaluator for the Primary Health Networks, Commonwealth Department of Health. 
  • Numerous publications relating to alcohol and the role of primary health care.
     

Ms
Anne
McKenzie AM

Community Engagement Manager, Telethon Kids Institute Adjunct Research Fellow, the School of Population and Global Health, The University of Western Australia

Declaration

  • Maintains a relationship with Care and Intervention for Children and Adolescents with Drug and Alcohol problems (CICADA) WA and Telethon Kids Institute WA. 
  • Committee Membership:
    • NHMRC Community and Consumer Advisory Group 
    • ACSQH Clinical Trials Governance Framework Committee 
    • NHMRC Targeted Call for Research Prioritisation Committee 
    • Australian Clinical Trials Alliance Board Member Strengthening consumer engagement sub committee 
    • Commonwealth Department of Health Medical Services Advisory Committee, Protocol Advisory Sub-Committee. 
    • Commonwealth Department of Health HTA Consumer Consultative Committee
    • National Prescribing Service Data Governance Committee
  • Since 2004 has facilitated and supported numerous consumer and community involvement activities in the FASD and Alcohol and Pregnancy research program at Telethon Kids Institute WA.

Adjunct Associate Professor
Scott
Wilson

Director of Aboriginal Drug and Alcohol Council, South Australia.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander representative.

Declaration

  • Holds, and has held, grants from NHMRC for better methods in collecting more accurate data on Aboriginal Alcohol use and Drinkwise (2010) to develop culturally appropriate resource “Alcohol Guidelines To Reduce The Lifetime Health Risks from drinking Alcohol”.
  • Co-Deputy Chair of the National Indigenous Drug and Alcohol Committee since it was first formed in early 2004.
  • Former board member of the Foundation of Alcohol Research and Education.
  • Numerous publications on alcohol use and treatment for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians.
  • Chief investigator on a number of publications and evaluation of education program for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people on alcohol addiction and substance misuse.
     

Ms
Nicole
Hewlett

Employed by Queensland University of Technology as the National Indigenous Project Manager for Program of Experience in the Palliative Approach. Employed at Menzies School of Health Research as a senior researcher on several alcohol harm reduction projects.   

Declaration

  • Board Member and Treasurer, National Organisation Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders.
  • Ongoing Stakeholder of Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education (FARE). 
  • Actively involved in the consultation and advocacy for P1050 Pregnancy Warning labels
  • Expert Advisor on Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder Education Resources Initiative
  • Reviewer for Australian & New Zealand Journal of Public Health
  • Author on a number of publications relating to alcohol policy and Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder prevention.