With schools on the verge of breaking up for the year, Wingecarribee Shire Council is re-launching a safety campaign to remind parents and guardians of their responsibility ensuring teenagers under the age of 18 are not supplied with alcohol this festive season.
Now in its second year, the campaign entitled, “The Secondary Supply – Don’t Get Stuck” is a joint initiative between the Southern Highlands Liquor Accord, NSW Police (Goulburn Local Area Command) and Wingecarribee Shire Council.
“In NSW it is an offence to supply alcohol to minors in a private residence without direct approval of a parent, but evidence is emerging that adults are increasingly supplying alcohol to their teenage children and their friends,” said Council’s Road Safety Officer, Melanie Lausz.
“If you are having a party at home and supply the alcohol you could be fined for each instance of a minor consuming that alcohol,” Ms Lausz said. “Parents and guardians have an important responsibility to educate their teenage children about the effects of alcohol, peer pressure and helping them to develop a responsible attitude towards drinking.”
“This includes teaching them of the effects of alcohol, the dangers of drink driving and the long and short-term risks – including adverse brain development – associated with drinking alcohol.”
Ms Lausz said the campaign would be extended to include local liquor retailers.
Bottle Shops across the Shire will be supplied with bright orange warning stickers highlighting that on the spot fines of up to $1,100 apply to the supply of alcohol to minors.
Stickers will be attached to a range of alcoholic products, in particular those favoured by younger drinkers.
“A common problem we’re hearing from parents is that once their children become teenagers, some of them find it increasing difficult to communicate with their children and by buying alcohol for them, it enables them to re-connect on a social level,” Ms Lausz said.
“But with statistics showing that the average Australian now starts drinking alcohol before their 16th birthday, it’s clear that parents have a huge responsibility in educating their children and helping to reduce this figure.”
According to the 2011 Drug and Alcohol Research and Training survey, over 80 per cent of children aged between 14 and 17 had already consumed alcohol.
“There are increasingly more alcoholic products marketed towards younger people including alcopops, designer and pre-packaged mixed drinks which seem to be attributed to the rise in binge drinking amongst teenagers.”
Adults are reminded that fines apply for supplying alcohol to anyone under the age of 18 years of age. The maximum penalty is $11,000 or 12 months imprisonment (or both), or an on-the-spot fine of $1,100.