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Tuesday, 12 May 2009
Page: 3600

Mr Haase asked the Minister for Health and Ageing, in writing, on 17 March 2009:

In respect of the Government’s National Binge Drinking Strategy announced in March 2008: (a) why was the Western Australian (WA) branch of Sports Medicine Australia not allocated funding under the ‘Rethinking Drinking in WA Sport Project’ that it jointly proposed with the WA Department of Sport and Recreation; and (b) why was none of the 19 recipients of the funding sporting organisations, when such organisations were a particular focus of the strategy.

Ms Roxon (Minister for Health and Ageing) —The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:

(a)   The Community Level Initiative (CLI) is one of the components of the National Binge Drinking Strategy, which provides an avenue to establish and develop local solutions to address youth binge drinking within communities. Over 300 applications for CLI funding were received. The large number of applications meant that the selection process was very competitive. Proposals were rigorously assessed against the agreed criteria by an Expert Advisory Group (EAG) which was established to oversee the selection process. Membership of the EAG comprised representatives from the Australian National Council on Drugs including indigenous representation, the Australian Local Government Association, representatives from the Australian Youth Forum, and the Department of Health and Ageing. After the assessment process was completed, the EAG recommended 19 projects for funding. Some $3.6 million was available for this round of funding. The 19 successful projects account for this full amount. The ‘Rethinking Drinking in WA Sport Project’ was found to be less suitable for funding than the successful projects.

(b)   While no sporting organisations were successful in the first CLI round, many of the successful projects incorporate activities in the sporting field. For example, some of the successful projects are targeting youth through sporting clubs and licensed premises by providing alcohol-free venues and events and engaging youth in sporting activities, so that sport becomes a healthy alternative to alcohol consumption. In addition, $5.2 million was provided under the National Binge Drinking Strategy for the significant expansion of the Good Sports initiative of the Australian Drug Foundation. The Good Sports initiative aims to develop safer and healthier communities by supporting local sporting clubs to build a culture of responsible drinking. The program helps sporting clubs manage alcohol responsibly and reduce alcohol related problems such as binge and underage drinking. The Australian Government is also working closely with sporting organisations to develop solutions to binge drinking, particularly by younger Australians, again as part of the National Binge Drinking Strategy. The Minister for Sport, the Hon Kate Ellis MP, announced on 18 January 2009 that six major sporting organisations, representing football, cricket, netball, rugby union, rugby league and AFL, have signed up to a National Alcohol Code of Conduct (the Code). The Code includes principles for the responsible service and consumption of alcohol and outlines responsibilities for organisations and for individuals when representing their sport. These six sporting organisations are also working with the Government to develop and implement the Club Champions Program. It will provide education and support within sporting clubs to encourage the safe and responsible consumption of alcohol.