NSW festivals and events may never be the same again if calls for alcohol promotions and sponsorships to be banned come into effect.
People travel from across the country to attend festivals and events in NSW, so this issue has relevance for everyone.
Alcohol promotions and sponsorships at North Coast festivals are frequented by young people many of whom aren’t even of legal drinking age. A NSW Upper House inquiry has heard that alcohol sponsorships and promotions should therefore be banned.
The parliamentary inquiry into alcohol abuse in young people, the Byron Youth Service made its submission to have alcohol promotions and sponsorships banned. The group called for a review into the regulation of alcohol service at festivals and events such as Splendour in the Grass, Schoolies, Blues Fest and even New Year celebrations.
The Byron Youth Service says that alcohol at festival bars in glamourized which thereby promotes heavy drinking especially amongst young people and encourages these impressionable youth into consuming alcohol.
The submission also noted that the high profile crime in the area, related to alcohol appears to have escaped the State Government’s radar.
According to a report on MyDailyNews.com.au this is what the BYS (Byron Youth Service) had to say:
It says an area, which has 30% more liquor licences and significantly higher crime statistics than most of NSW, heavy tourism traffic and a shortage of taxis, is in desperate need of funding for safety programs.
The street-based program, run by BYS every weekend and throughout special events and peak periods like Schoolies for the past 13 years, was working, according the submission but lacked “sufficient, ongoing funding”.
Byron High students suggested funding for school-based programs, more RBTs at “high risk” areas like Byron, western Sydney and the Gold Coast and curfews for P platers, could help deter young people from binge-drinking.
The submission, penned by school captains Taylor Kempnich and Brodie Snow and vice captains Danika Saul and James Dennett, said the focus should be on “prevention rather than the cure” if the State Government wanted to “save money, time in the workplace, but most of all, lives”.
Byron-based Greens MLC Jan Barham and Lennox Liberal MLC Catherine Cusack are sitting on the committee which will report back to parliament later this year.
The next hearing will take place in Sydney on May 6.
Whether or not the BYS will be granted their request, we will have to wait and see but in the interim it is important that people realise that serving alcohol to underage minors is illegal.
Parents need to understand the daamage that alcohol is doing to their children and the risks that it is placing them under.
Servers of alcohol, whether in a bar or pub or at a festival or event needs to be aware of the damage that serving alcohol to youth can do. In addition to the harm that alcohol can do to young people, anyone who provides alcohol to a minor is liable to be charged.