New campaign urges a positive approach to drinking at 18
  • Saturday 07 November 2009

Drinking in pubs and clubs is a privilege – not a right – once you turn 18, a new awareness program will tell the Sunshine Coast’s young people when it is launched on Friday.

Year 12 students from two Coast high schools will join Queensland Police, Queensland Transport, Sunshine Coast Council and proprietors of pubs and clubs to launch a campaign with a difference – one that acknowledges the reality that young people will start to frequent licensed venues once they are legally entitled to.

My decision, My life, My responsibility, an initiative of CALM Mooloolaba (Collaborative Approach to Liquor Management), has been taken up and supported by CALM Sunshine Coast in an effort to increase young people’s awareness of the realities they will face when they turn 18.

Councillors Lew Brennan and Jenny McKay will join Qld Transport, Qld Police and other agencies in speaking with students at St John’s College Nambour and St Andrew’s Anglican College Peregian Springs at the launch of the program on Friday.

The program aims to alert young people to the expectations and responsibilities associated with the privilege of being able to legally drink and attend licensed premises.

“Young people need to be aware that it is a privilege not a right to visit licensed premises,” said Jo Simonelli, owner of Soave Mooloolaba and CALM Mooloolaba Chairperson.

“If they play up then there are consequences.

“As the owner/manager of a licensed venue, it is my business, my livelihood that is at stake. I take it very seriously for both my future and my patrons’ safety. I have responsibilities, as do patrons at my venue.”

Council’s Community Programs Manager, Mike Lollback, said young people have been given lots of information about the dangers of excessive drinking on their health, but there are no real programs that talk about the realities of the 18-plus life they will move into.

“At 18 they can vote, get their driver’s licences, legally drink alcohol and go into licensed premises – it’s an exciting time,” he said.

“But there is a dark side – this mixture can be a catalyst for disaster.

“The program hopes to imbed in these young people the need to make responsible decisions for the safety of themselves and their friends.

“No one is saying ‘don’t drink’, but if you are going out with friends to a licensed venue and you are going to drink, plan to get home safely. Make the plan before you go out and stick to it.

“Don’t take your car only to make a fateful spur of the moment decision to drive it home because you don’t want to leave it parked on the street.

“These are the types of messages we want to get across to young people and show them that there are a number of transport options available on the Coast.

“The biggest part about growing up is taking responsibility for your decisions. So if you make a decision to go down a certain path – first ask yourself if it is worth it and if so be prepared to take responsibility for that decision,” he said.

My decision, My life, My responsibility is designed to provide young people with factual information in relation to the expectations, responsibilities and realities associated alcohol, licensed venues and personal behaviour.

The initiative is supported by Qld Police, Qld Transport, Office of Liquor and Gaming Regulation and Sunshine Coast Regional Council.