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Australian sport tackles binge drinking



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SENATOR THE HON KATE LUNDY

Minister for Sport

THE HON MARK BUTLER MP

Minister for Mental Health

MEDIA RELEASE

*EMBARGOED 10:30AM SATURDAY 23 JUNE*

Australian Sport Tackles Binge Drinking

Twelve of Australia’s national sporting organisations will be provided funding out of a $25 million government sponsorship program to provide an alternative to alcohol sponsorship in sport.

The new campaign is a partnership between the Australian Government and national sporting organisations to address binge drinking and the influence of alcohol promotion on young Australians.

Chief Executive Officer of Swimming Australia, Kevin Neil, said his sport was proud to take a leadership role in this important area.

"Swimming is one of the highest participation sports among young people in this country and we are choosing to take a proactive approach on this issue because it’s our desire to tackle this problem together as a community,” Mr Neil said.

Australian swimming champion, Geoff Huegill, welcomed the initiative and said that athletes were important role models to influence and inspire young Australians.

“Promoting a message to young people, sporting stars and the community at large to ‘BE THE INFLUENCE’ is a vital step in trying to combat the growing problem of binge drinking in youth culture in this country,” Mr Huegill said.

“As a nation we love sport. The adverse influence of harmful alcohol consumption, particularly in close association with sport, is something that together we can help change and that’s why I am proud to be part of this campaign.”

The Minister for Sport, Senator Kate Lundy, announced the Australian Government’s support for the Community Sponsorship Fund today at Melbourne’s AAMI Park Stadium with representatives from the 12 sporting organisations and a number of Australia’s sports stars.

“Sport is a really important part of young peoples' lives and it’s terrific that our elite athletes have come on board to promote a healthy sporting lifestyle in the lead up to the Olympics,” Senator Lundy said.

“This campaign is about tapping into the positive influence sporting clubs have on young people while promoting responsible drinking.”

The Minister for Mental Health, Mark Butler, said the initiative will be funded under the National Binge Drinking Strategy and was aimed at giving sports an alternative to relying on alcohol sponsorship to support their clubs.

“The sponsorship agreements act as an alternative to alcohol sponsorship in sport and do not affect the pourage rights and service of alcohol at stadiums and events.

“I’ve been impressed by the enthusiasm shown by these twelve national sporting organisations to reduce the exposure of young people to alcohol imagery and branding,” Mr Butler said.

Each sponsorship agreement covers a range of activities and events from national team sponsorship, to Australia-wide competitions and community sporting events.

The participating sporting organisations include: Football Federation of Australia, Netball Australia, Swimming Australia, Basketball Australia, Cycling Australia, Hockey Australia, Athletics Australia, Volleyball Australia, Equestrian Australia, Triathlon Australia, Canoeing Australia and Skateboarding Australia.

Media contacts:

Jessica Hill (Lundy) on 0407 926 077 / Tim O’Halloran (Butler) on 0409 059 617