Public health laws in areas such as alcohol and tobacco control, road safety and infectious disease control exemplify some of the biggest success stories in disease and injury prevention.
However, in spite of the effectiveness of unilateral government alcohol regulation in the general population, it is widely accepted that to address the root causes of Indigenous people’s health problems, self-determination and active participation in decision making is imperative. Furthermore, Indigenous leadership and consultation in alcohol control is a live issue for many communities globally as potentially harmful “top-down” approaches continue.
Using recent work in Indigenous alcohol governance as a case study, this presentation will explore the models of governance through which Indigenous communities design and implement public health law, where they have been effective and ineffective in achieving health and social outcomes as well as how such models incorporate local knowledge, social structures and culture.
Jan Muhunthan is a public health law researcher and PhD candidate at the University of Sydney, supported by The Australian Prevention Partnership Centre and The George Institute for Global Health. Jan’s PhD aims to develop empirical research tools that policy makers and researchers can use to identify deficiencies in existing public health law (in terms of power, effectiveness, acceptability and sustainability), and to inform the design of legislative reform.