Diageo’s corporate social responsibility manager Georgie Passalaris and treasurer of the Byron Liquor Accord Gary Charles at the Drink IQ program held in Byron Bay last week.
Diageo’s corporate social responsibility manager Georgie Passalaris and treasurer of the Byron Liquor Accord Gary Charles at the Drink IQ program held in Byron Bay last week.

Schoolies targeted in new plan

With 20,000 Schoolies expected in Byron Bay from tomorrow, the Byron Liquor Accord is taking steps to ensure its members promote responsible drinking.

Last week about 45 members from clubs, hotels and restaurants completed a ‘Drink IQ’ program held at the Great Northern Hotel and run by the world’s leading drinks business – Diageo.

The program, which was started by Diageo employees in Australia five years ago, has now been rolled out worldwide to 22,000 employees of the company.

“Drink IQ is mandatory for all employees,” Diageo’s corporate social responsibility manager Georgie Passalaris said.

Ms Passalaris, who delivered the program in Byron Bay, said that Drink IQ had been delivered across Australia to liquor accords, licensed venues, the police, the Office of Liquor, Gaming and Racing, the NRL and the Australian Hotels Association.

“The program helps to promote responsible drinking, how alcohol affects people and encourages people to think about their safety while they are drinking,” Ms Passalaris said.

“It goes way further than the Responsible Service of Alcohol (RSA) program and also teaches employees of hotels and clubs to know exactly what a standard drink is.”

 Treasurer of the Byron Liquor Accord Gary Charles said the accord had decided to invite Ms Passalaris to deliver the Drink IQ program to its members in the lead-up to Schoolies.

“Christmas and New Year are also just around the corner, so we thought it would be a good time for everyone to brush up on their skills and knowledge,” he said.

“It’s a reminder for everyone to realise the adverse effects that too much alcohol can have and we also want to target underage drinking, especially of Schoolies.

“We want to stop intoxication and conflict.”

Mr Charles said the program had been of great benefit to accord members.

Meanwhile, Tweed Byron Police are warning Schoolies to be aware of the risk of sexual assault during after-school celebrations.

They say the incidents of sexual assault in the command are 95 percent higher than for the same period last year, with some 18 sexual assault incidents reported in October. 

 Crime prevention officer of Tweed/Byron LAC, Senior Constable Andrew Eppelstun, said the rise in offences in the command was driven by a number of factors, with alcohol consumption and related behaviour being the common feature in the majority of these incidents.

Senior Constable Eppelstun said end-of-school celebrations were a turning point in the lives of young adults. However, for some the introduction to adulthood was not the welcome they would like to have received.

He said finishing school was a cause for celebration but police warned Schoolies they should be aware there was sometimes danger in drinking excess alcohol.

Police urge Schoolies, particularly young females to be smart about the way they celebrate.

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