Monday, 18 February 2019
Statements by Members
Whilst the rate of underage drinking in Australia continues to slowly decline, there is still a great deal of work to be done to break the culture of underage drinking and to reduce alcohol-fuelled violence amongst young people. One such initiative is the Smashed Project, delivered by Gibber Australia and supported by Collingwood Learning. This is a live performance delivered to years 8 and 9 by professional actors, along with follow-up interactive workshops to engage young people in a safe and motivational learning environment, enabling them to explore the dangers and consequences of underage drinking and binge drinking. Diageo Australia's sponsorship of the program makes the performances completely free for all schools. Diageo has been the proud sponsor of the Smashed Project since its inception in 2004. There was of course no reference whatsoever to Diageo or its brand in the program.
The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare's latest statistics say 82 per cent of 12- to 17-year-olds don't drink any alcohol, a stark improvement from 54 per cent in 2004. This change in behaviour and attitudes towards underage drinking can be attributed to programs like the Smashed Project, which in its first year in Australia reached over 20,000 students at more than 100 schools nationwide. School performance tell the story of three teenagers whose lives are forever changed by choices they make around alcohol. The performance is then directly followed up by workshops. This gives teen audience a forum to have an open conversation about the dangers of under-age drinking. My congratulations to Gibber Australia and Collingwood Learning on this initiative, and I look forward to seeing more positive results as the program reaches more students, particularly in my home state of Queensland.