Push to ban alcohol promotions at NSW festivals and events

ALCOHOL promotions and sponsorships at North Coast festivals frequented by young revellers should be banned, a NSW Upper House inquiry has heard.

In its submission to the parliamentary inquiry into alcohol abuse in young people, the Byron Youth Service called for a review into the regulation of alcohol service at Splendour in the Grass, Schoolies, Blues Fest and New Year celebrations.

The glamorisation of full-strength booze at festival bars, the BYS says, "heavily promotes and encourages the engagement of young people and young adults in alcohol consumption".

The submission also notes Byron's "high profile" alcohol related crime rate appears to have attracted little recognition from the State Government.

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.

Topics:  alcohol, binge-drinking, byron bay bluesfest, nsw government, schoolies, splendour in the grass, youth



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