Thinking about community action we usually conjure up protests, marches, petitions and demonstrations. While these actions are overt and useful, changes to community attitudes and/or government policies often come from local initiatives and commitment, leading to continued conversations.
GrogWatch encourages, informs and promotes conversations about community action. This year the Australian Drug Foundation’s drive to prevent alcohol-related harms will be to work with parents who want to become Community Action Champions as part of our Community Alcohol Action Network (CAAN). The priorities we will be focusing on are:
- Reducing alcohol problems at teenage parties
- Improving safety on public transport
- Online sales of alcohol including the potential delivery of alcohol to underage buyers
- School leaver celebrations
- Parents drinking at school functions
- Secondary supply legislation
- Minimum pricing of alcohol.
GrogWatch is interested in your view on if these are the right issues? Are there others in your community that need attention?
Community Action Champions who are currently contributing to positive changes in their communities and organisations are:
Bruce Clark of the Leigh Clark Foundation who was appalled by the freedom adults have to give alcohol to other people’s children, so he lobbied the Victorian Government to adopt the secondary supply law and was successful.
Lisa Neville of the Alpine Shire who is ensuring parents understand the new secondary supply law. Lisa organised a community forum on the role of parents in controlling their children’s access to alcohol. Parents who attended the forum learned about the impact early drinking can have on adolescents and their responsibilities under the secondary supply law.
Tony Brown’s work in Newcastle is another example of how effective lobbying can be after he campaigned against alcohol-fuelled violence around licensed premises. As a result trading hours were reduced, serving shots was banned after 10pm and a lock out was introduced. Violence and drink driving declined substantially.
Other Community Action Champions are currently involved in:
- Encouraging their school to keep functions alcohol-free when students are present
- Making an objection to alcohol advertising near schools, at bus stops, and on public transport vehicles
- Talking to their council about the misuse of alcohol on council property or on streets and parks
- Speaking to bottle shop managers about not serving alcohol to young people.
If you would like to discuss these or other issues please post a comment or story on GrogWatch.