Alcohol and Drug Strategies


This page contains a listing of the iterations of alcohol and drug-related strategic plans which have been issued by successive governments in Western Australia (WA) over the past three decades, since the first strategic plan for the period 1990 to 1993.

There are instances of marked changes in the wording of aspirational statements of intent embodied in different versions of plans, which may reflect values and ideology of the respective political parties in power at different times over the period. Also, as policies were often expressed as extending some time into the future, beyond the term of the originating government, policies would persist after a change of government.

Click here for further details of the governments of different political persuasion and their Premiers in WA from 1900 to the present.

Also, as national drug policies may be adopted or endorsed, recourse to the tenets and principles of national governments as well as statements of intent and perspectives of bodies with cross-jurisdictional roles may also relevant.

In reading these successive drug action plans and strategies, it is important to understand that they may present a narrow and limited view of the total set of measures and arrangements that impact on the consumption and availability of alcohol, as well as the use of other drugs.

In this State up until the early 1970s government had largely focussed on regulatory arrangements concerned with alcohol. This was an important approach in the first five decades, involving the eras of World War I, the Great Depression and World War II and meant from 1900, temperance principles had a major influence on the framework of liquor licensing controls in WA, involving opening hours of hotels, restrictions on access related to indigenous status, the availability of alcohol and allocation of licenses.

However, in addition to the key role performed by the liquor licensing system, other forms of social control concerned with alcohol were established through a combination of regulations and administrative arrangements.

These included a system based on so-called ‘native welfare’ legislation until the 1960s in WA which targeted indigenous people, the use of mental health legislation powers to commit of ‘inebriates’ to asylums and treatment facilities until the early 1970s and the use of imprisonment to detain and punish ‘convicted inebriates’ and problematic users of alcohol.

Governments promulgate approaches that express their policies and tend to invoke the symbolism of the criminal justice to punish, the structure of offences and penalties in relation to alcohol and illicit dugs, self-regulatory measures and free market principles in relation to the alcohol industry, and the framework of treatment and services for problematic users of alcohol and other drugs.

Also, specific issues and approaches are prioritised depending on the government of the day and how it perceived the risks of harm to individuals and threats to social order involving the use of specific groups of drugs. It should also be understood that the intentions, rationales and priorities in policies may be contained in a number of source documents and statements, which may also evolve over time due to revisions and shift in emphasis.

The use of slogans and branding may invoke a manifesto of social engineering and calls to arms to create a utopian future, which makes it difficult to understand and comprehend policies. Some policies will also involve fine grained agency-level details and specific defined actions, processes and roles, whereas other policies may be general in nature and be implemented by a central agency operating across government.

Also, some government’s policies may involve identification of participating agencies, each of whom may be ascribed different roles, there may be a range of community and inter-agency consultative mechanisms to accommodate divergent interests and also promotion of forums for so-called ‘leaders’ opinions to be canvassed and expressed.

Alcohol and Drug Authority Strategic Plan (1990 – 1997) 


The ADA’s strategic plan was published in 1986, which set out aspirations and goals for the period 1990 to 1993. It was propounded by the Australian Labor Party (ALP) government of Brian Burke, who was premier from February 1983 to February 1988.

An updated Strategic plan for the period 1994 to 1997 was released under the premiership of Carmen Lawrence, who held that position from February 1990 to February 1993, which followed the premiership of Peter Dowding, from February 1988 to February 1990.


  • Strategic Plan 1990-1993 [856k]
  • Drug Strategic Plan 1994-1997 [1.9MB]

Department of Health Drug Strategy (1993 – 2003)


In the late 1990s the Department of Health (DOH) released its Drug strategy 1999 – 2003, branded as Interaction.

Note: A DOH specific policy, one of a total of 10 agency specific drug and alcohol action plans, was released in 2002 as part of the Gallop ALP government alcohol and other drug policy which was branded as Putting people first.


Drug strategy 1999 – 2003 [3.1MB]

WA Strategy Against Drug Abuse (1997 – 1999)


The WA Strategy Against Drug Abuse, officially described as Together Against Drugs, involved two iterations, 1997 to 1999 and 1999 to 2001.

Together against drugs was promoted by the Liberal-National Party government of Richard Court, in power from February 1993 to February 2001. This strategy was implemented by the WA Drug Abuse Strategy Office (WADASO), which was established by the Court government.


  • Action Plan 1997-1999 (June 1997) [108k]
  • Action Plan 1997-1999: Update (June 1998) [12k]

WA Strategy Against Drug Abuse (1999 – 2001)


  • Action Plan 1999-2001 (June 1999) [320k]
  • Action Plan 1999-2001: Framework [12k]
  • Action Plan 1999-2001: Key developments (Nov 1999) [12k]
  • Action Plan 1999-2001: What’s in place (Nov 1999) [12k]
  • Action Plan 1999-2001: Activity and outcome indicators 1999/2000 (May 2001) [40k]
  • Action Plan 1999-2001: Activity and outcome measures 1999/2000 – Statement by Minister (February 2001) [32k]

WA Drug and Alcohol Strategy (2002 – 2005)


The WA Drug and Alcohol Strategy, officially described as Putting people first, was supported by the Australian Labor Party (ALP) government of Geoff Gallop, in power from February 2001 to January 2006. The Putting people first slogan was articulated under the Premiership of Dr Geoff Gallop and overseen by the Drug and Alcohol Office (DAO), which was established by the Gallop government.


  • Strategy 2002-2005 (August 2002) [156k]
  • Strategy 2002-2005: Update (November 2004) [740k]

A total of 10 agency-specific Action plans were released in May 2003 –

  • Drug and Alcohol Office (DAO) [244k]
  • Department for Community Development (DCD) [87k]
  • Department of Education and Training (DET) [354k]
  • Department of Housing and Works (DHW) [379k]
  • Department of Indigenous Affairs (DIA) [433k]
  • Department of Local Government and Regional Development (DLGRD) [252k]
  • Department of Health (DOH) [420k]
  • Department of Justice (DOJ) [306k]
  • School Drug Education Project (SDEP) [950k]
  • WA Police Service (WAPS) 188k]

A total of 10 Area plans for each of the DOH’s 10 Health Regions were released by DAO in May 2003 –

  • East Metro Health Region [64k]
  • Great Southern Health Region [65k]
  • Kimberley Health Region [64k]
  • Midwest-Murchison Health Region [68k]
  • North Metro Health Region [63k]
  • Pilbara-Gascoyne Health Region [66k]
  • South East Coastal-Goldfields Health Region [66k]
  • South Metro Health Region [64k]
  • South West Health Region Health Region [60k]
  • Wheatbelt Health Region [61k]

WA Drug and Alcohol Strategy (2005 – 2009)


The WA Drug and Alcohol Strategy was developed by the ALP government under the premiership of Alan Carpenter (who succeeded Geoff Gallop) and was Premier from January 2006 to September 2008. The previous ‘Putting people first’ slogan adopted by the ALP when it first came to government in February 2001, was discontinued. A range of issue specific plans were developed under this strategy.


  • Volatile Substance Use Plan 2005-2009 (May 2005) [256k
  • Drug and Alcohol Action Plan 2005-2009 (August 2005) [1.1MB]
  • Drug and Alcohol Strategy 2005-2009 (November 2005) [601k]
  • Aboriginal Plan 2005-2009: Strong Spirit Strong Mind (November 2005) [589k]
  • Drug and Alcohol Strategy 2005-2009 – Key achievements (June 2011) [460k]

WA Alcohol Plan (2006 – 2009)


The WA Alcohol Plan 2006-2009 was released by the DAO in 2006. It was preceded by the release in October 2004 of a draft community consultation for an earlier iteration of this plan, the WA Alcohol Plan 2004-2007 [222k].


  • 2006-2009 Alcohol Plan – Main report [526k]
  • 2006-2009 Alcohol Plan – Summary [315k]
  • 2006-2009 Alcohol Plan – Community consultation [222k]

Drug and Alcohol Interagency Strategic Framework (2011 – 2015)


The Drug and Alcohol Interagency Strategic Framework (DAISF) was released in August 2011, and was developed by the Barnett Liberal government, which was in power from September 2008 to March 2017, which was implemented by the DAO.

A number of documents set out objects and expectations for the DAISF, including the main report, four annual reports covering the years 2010/2011 to 2013/2014 and 10 agency specific annual reports for 2013/2014.


  • Drug and Alcohol Interagency Strategic Framework – Main report [2MB]
  • Drug and Alcohol Interagency Strategic Framework – Alcohol support plan [2MB]
  • Drug and Alcohol Interagency Strategic Framework – Illicit drug support plan [2.5MB]
  • Drug and Alcohol Interagency Strategic Framework – Volatile substance use support plan [2MB]
  • Drug and Alcohol Interagency Strategic Framework – Capacity building, coordination and monitoring support plan [2MB]
  • Drug and Alcohol Interagency Strategic Framework – Aboriginal drug and alcohol framework report [2.2MB]

Annual reports: 2010/2011 – 2013/2014

  • Annual report 2010/2011 [370k]
  • Annual report 2011/2012 [644k]
  • Annual report 2012/2013 [448k]
  • Annual report 2013/2014 [553k]

Agency specific annual reports: Year 2013/2014

  • Department of Child Protection and Family Support [199k]
  • Department of Corrective Services [98k]
  • Department of Education [126k]
  • Department of Health [439k]
  • Department of Local Government and Communities [134k]
  • Department of Racing, Gaming and Liquor [198k]
  • Department of Attorney General [85k]
  • Drug and Alcohol Office [151k]
  • Mental Health Commission [135k]
  • Office of Road Safety [173k]
  • Western Australian Police [219k]

DAO Reconciliation Plan (2012)

  • Drug & Alcohol Office – Reconciliation action plan [640k]

Health Promotion Strategic Framework (2012 – 2016)

The Department of Health undertook consultation in relation to the development of its proposed Health Promotion Strategic Framework 2012 – 2016.

  • Health Promotion Strategic Framework 2012 – 2016 – Consultation draft [1.5MB]
  • Health Promotion Strategic Framework 2012 – 2016 – Consultation form [166k]

DAO Strategic Plan (2013 – 2018)

DAO undertook a consultation process involving more than 100 of its staff, which resulted in the strategic plan 2013-2018, described for –

‘guiding what we do, outlining how we can work together to achieve a shared vision. It articulates our vision, mission, values and strategic directions, providing the subsequent line of sight for practical implementation in our business and operational plans. It also outlines the key directions for which we are accountable to State Government and other stakeholders including the community.’ 

  • DAO strategic plan (2013 – 2018) [826k]

Next Step Strategic Plan (2015 -2020)

In the 2015-2020 strategic plan published by DAO the strategic plan is referenced to both the earlier interagency framework 2011-2015 and the WA mental service plan 2015-2020 –

‘The Next Step Drug and Alcohol Services Strategic Plan 2020-2025 (the strategic plan) aims to respond to the current and anticipated needs of the WA population. The strategic plan identifies priorities for service development and enhancement over the next five years. 

The strategic plan is aligned with the Drug and Alcohol Interagency Strategic Framework for Western Australia 2011-2015 that aims to ‘prevent and reduce the adverse impacts of alcohol and other drug use in the Western Australian community’. It has also been developed within the context of the Western Australian Mental Health, Alcohol and Other Drug Services Plan 2015-2025.

This ten year plan is close to finalisation and will outline the optimal mix of services and supports required to meet the current and future needs of people across the State with mental health, alcohol and other drug problems.’ 

  • DAO – Next Step Strategic Plan 2015-2020 [391k]

Copies of this document may be available on the Mental Health Commission’s website.

Drug & Alcohol Strategic Plan (2015 -2025)

The most recent iteration of a drug and alcohol plan is contained in the Better choices: Western Australian mental health, alcohol and other drug services plan 2015-2025, released by the WA Mental Health Commission (MHC) in 2015.

There are a number of published materials related to the 2015-2015 plan –

  • WA mental health, alcohol and other drug services plan 2015-2025 – Consultation draft (2014) [4.3MB]
  • WA mental health, alcohol and other drug services plan 2015-2025 – Final version (2015) [2.5MB]

Copies of these documents may be available on the Mental Health Commission’s website.

Part of the rationale for this cross-sectoral plan, which encompassed alcohol, other drugs and mental services, was set out in the Mental Health Commissioner’s introduction to the final report.

‘The Plan tells us how we need to grow the system by articulating where and what type of services are required to be established or expanded by the end of 2025. The Plan provides a roadmap which Governments and other stakeholders can use to invest their finite resources.

It would be pre-emptive for the Mental Health Commission, or any other Government department, to prescribe how the Plan should be implemented. I envisage the implementation process will be highly collaborative, evolving over time with changing trends, new evidence and experience. The years ahead will be challenging but also exciting as we work together to better meet our communities’ needs.’

A more nuanced exposition for producing a plan with a ten year horizon can be gleaned from the Minister for Mental Health’s foreword in both the 2014 consultation draft and 2015 final version.

‘The Plan is bold and sets an ambitious agenda that all levels of Government, the private and not for profit sectors, consumers, and families need to work together to achieve. We need to enhance prevention programs and strategies, intervene early and increase community based services to reduce reliance on an outdated system consisting of expensive hospital beds and substantially improve the ability of consumers and their families to navigate the system. (Exposure draft 2014)

The reform will require all levels of government, the private and nongovernment sector as well as clinicians, consumers, families, and carers to work together. The Plan provides us with a clear direction, guiding our investment in capital and other resources, our policy and process development and implementation. I believe we are all working towards the same vision and, we will continue to work together for real changes at a whole of system level and for those people with an alcohol or drug problem, mental disorder or illness and their families and carers.’

Health Promotion Strategic Framework (2017 – 2021)


The Health Promotion Strategic Framework (HPSF) should also be included in discussion about the development of alcohol policies, as alcohol use is recognised in the HPSF as a preventable lifestyle risk factor.

The development and implementation of the HPSF is undertaken by the Chronic Disease Prevention Directorate of the WA Department of Health.

The broad objective of the HPSF is lower the incidence of avoidable chronic disease and injury in WA by facilitating improvements in health behaviours and environments, by prioritising those lifestyle risk factors which contribute most to the burden of disease in WA –  

  • overweight and obesity 
  • nutrition 
  • physical activity 
  • tobacco use
  • harmful levels of drinking

The inclusion in Section 4.5 – Reducing harmful levels of alcohol use, in the 2017 – 2021 HPSF, underscores the extent of the involvement of the problematic use of alcohol as a cause of preventable health issues –

‘Alcohol use is embedded in national culture and the majority of Western Australians consume alcohol at some level. The greatest number of alcohol-related problems occurs in people who often drink moderately, and drink to harmful levels only occasionally. A large proportion of the general drinking population has this pattern of consumption.’ (p. 45)


The current HPSF builds on two preceding strategic frameworks, set out in the 2007–2011 and 2012-16 plans.

Alcohol and Drug Interagency Strategy (2018 – 2022)

The WA Alcohol and Drug Interagency Strategy was published in 2018 and is implemented by the MHC.

In the foreword the Minister for Mental Health noted the strategy adopts a harm minimisation approach that encompasses the three principles in the National drug strategy 2017 – 2026, of supply, demand and harm reduction measures. He also referred to how the interagency strategy was supported by the involvement of

‘the portfolios represented on the Drug and Alcohol Strategic Senior Officers’ Group, the non-government sector, peak bodies and the community to ensure the Strategy is evidence-based and reflects best practice’.

  • WA alcohol & drug interagency strategy 2018-2022 (2018) [8.1MB]

A copy of this document may be available on the Mental Health Commission’s website.