By Annette Shailer
Federal MPs, community leaders and sporting heroes came together this morning at a special DrinkWise Australia forum at Parliament House, Canberra, to support the push to delay Australian teenagers’ introduction to alcohol.
The new Drinkwise Australia national campaign ‘Kids and Alcohol Don’t Mix’ was showcased, while the forum heard from Australia’s Minister for Health and Ageing, the Hon. Nicola Roxon, Brain and Mind Research Institute executive director, Prof Ian Hickie, DrinkWise Chair, the Hon. Trish Worth, and The Sports Australia Hall of Fame chairman and sporting legend, John Bertrand AM.
The resounding message from all speakers was for Australia’s leaders and role models to start the national conversation about teens and alcohol and push the critical ‘delay’ message.
DrinkWise Chair, Trish Worth said that the aim is for parents to band together to set mutual community standards that protect teenagers and their developing brains.
“This will be a huge step towards changing a culture which currently permits our young people to drink too much, too soon. Kids and Alcohol Don’t Mix is the message we want all Australian parents to hear,” she said.
According to a report by the National Centre for Education and Training on Addiction, over the past five decades the average age of initiation to alcohol in Australia has dropped from 19 to 15.5 years and studies show that the early onset of drinking is more likely to result in risky adult drinking behaviours in later life.
The forum comes on the back of the Rees Government joining the AHA in releasing a new guide to help licensed venues stop teenagers getting past security with fake IDs – just in time for schoolies.
Gaming and Racing Minister, Kevin Greene, said the Australian ID Checking Guide will help staff at clubs, pubs and bottleshops spot fake or altered ID’s these schoolies and into summer.
“The internet has certainly done a lot of great things, but it’s also given many teenagers new and creative ways to buy or make fake IDs,” Greene said.
“It’s important staff in licensed venues like the clubs and pubs along our coast, where young people will be heading for Schoolies from this week, are kept as up to date as possible on the latest scams.”
The guide costs $10 and can be ordered online by clicking here.