18 June 2018

A review is underway to revise the Australian Guidelines to Reduce Health Risks from Drinking Alcohol 2009. The review will follow established processes and a draft for public consultation will be released during the second half of 2019. 

The revision of the Australian Guidelines to Reduce Health Risks from Drinking Alcohol 2009 will follow our 2016 NHMRC Standards for Guidelines. This will provide transparency and rigour to the evidence evaluation and decision making involved in guideline development, and ensure that the latest and best scientific evidence is correctly and appropriately collected, analysed, interpreted and reported. This process also includes a number of quality assurance measures, including:

  • An evaluation of the evidence on the health effects of alcohol consumption by an independent contractor with relevant experience in evidence evaluation.
  • A methodological review of the research protocol and draft evidence evaluation report by an independent expert or organisation to ensure that the process by which literature was searched for, selected and appraised was conducted in a robust and transparent manner.
  • An independent expert review of the draft guidelines to ensure that the process by which the underpinning evidence has been interpreted and synthesised is appropriate and in accordance with the latest and best available evidence.
  • Consideration of the draft guidelines by the Council of NHMRC, of which the Chief Medical/Health Officers of each jurisdiction are members, to ensure that the NHMRC’s processes and standards have been met.
  • A public consultation period which provides all stakeholders with the opportunity to comment on the draft guidelines,  as required by the NHMRC Act 1992.

NHMRC processes include the use of GRADE (Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development and Evaluation) for considering the body of evidence and drafting guideline recommendations.  GRADE is an internationally recognised approach to appraising the quality of evidence and developing health advice based upon those judgements. GRADE is designed to be an explicit, comprehensive, transparent, and pragmatic way of making decisions.

The Alcohol Working Committee will oversee and provide expertise to the update of the 2009 Alcohol Guidelines to ensure that they reflect the best available evidence and are relevant to the Australian context.

The table below provides indicative completion dates for key milestones of the revision of the 2009 Alcohol Guidelines:

Key Milestones

Indicative completion dates

Public call for evidence

13 January 2017

Systematic reviews and their methodological appraisals (quality assurance step)

Second half of 2018

Modelling of the health effects of alcohol consumption

Fourth quarter of 2018 and first quarter of 2019

Drafting of revised guidelines

First half of 2019

Public consultation on and expert review of draft guidelines

Fourth quarter of 2019

Final revised Alcohol Guidelines issued

Second quarter of 2020


NHMRC’s Alcohol Guidelines Project Team

Postal Address: 

Alcohol Guidelines Project Team
National Health and Medical Research Council
GPO Box 1421
Canberra, ACT, 2601

Email Address: Alcohol@nhmrc.gov.au

Please note: Members of the Alcohol Working Committee are unable to respond to individual enquiries.