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This Is Northern New South Wales

Cringe the Binge!

Byron Youth Service (BYS) has taken the lead to change the binge drinking culture of the Byron Shire – and Australia – with its ‘Cringe the Binge’ campaign.

Di Mahoney, Director of BYS says “We have been battling with binge drinking issues here in Byron Bay for many years and we’ve seen the devastation it can have on young people, their friends and family.  That’s why we have been pro-active in developing Cringe the Binge and also raising our voices at the ILGA Community Conference held to decide the Dan Murphy superstore application.  And now we are asking our young people, our community, parents, politicians, business and community leaders, and tourists to join us in a National Weekend of Action to Reverse Youth Binge Drinking 9th – 11th of November”.

“Byron Bay is a microcosm of all the negative impacts of binge drinking -drinking driving, multiple fatalities, sexual assault, street violence, brawls, domestic violence and trauma, anxieties and depression, and the early initiation of young people into alcohol consumption,” Ms Mahoney said.

“On the National Weekend of a Action we are asking all Australians to stop and think about their use of alcohol and donate, via our website, what they would normally spend on alcohol”. The donations will fund youth and community workers to initiate local actions that aim to reverse youth binge drinking.  All donations over $10 go into a draw to win a weekend in Byron Bay with accommodation, meals and massages.

Byron Bay is a town that celebrating its recent victory when members of the community turned out in force at the Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority (ILGA NSW) Community Conference to object to the transfer of a packaged liquor license that would allow Dan Murphy’s to open a superstore in the main street of town.

In their letter to Dan Murphy’s, ILGA Chairperson Chris Sidoti outlined that the applicant would, despite their best efforts, contribute to under-age drinking, public drinking, and the pre-fuelling issues that he says “bedevils the local and broader communities” of Byron Bay.

Byron Shire Mayor, Cr Simon Richardson spoke passionately at the ILGA community conference, along with representatives of the Byron Youth Service and several young people.  Mayor Richardson is supporting Byron Youth Service’s efforts to address the issue locally and nationally.

“I admire Byron Youth Service for taking the lead on this important community issue, and I hope everyone that cares about young people being affected by binge drinking and alcohol-related issues will come and support the launch of Cringe the Binge”. Cr Richardson said, “This campaign aims to reduce the regrets that happen after binging sessions.  We want our youth to look back on a night out with friends with fondness. Apart from the damage to others, if we binge less we may cringe less also”.

Byron’s statistics on risky drinking, alcohol–related violence and sexual assaults significantly exceed the state-based average, and demonstrate that there is a major problem with alcohol here.  To Get Info Today on the extent of alcoholism in the area, a Byron resident only need to look around. We all recognize that we need to work together to change what’s happening in Byron.  The influx of visitors adds a lot to our local problems, and we are working together to address significant problem periods such as Schoolies through co-ordinated actions such as those implemented by member of the Byron Schoolies Safety Response Group.

“Working together with all the key partners – locally and nationally – is the key to bringing about change to the binge drinking culture that leads to so many tragedies.  We are not asking Australians to stop drinking, just to drink less and go easy.  We know young people will try alcohol and we understand the social pressures they are often under.  But a reduction in binge drinking – especially during the teen years – will significantly reduce the negative impacts” said Ms Mahoney.

In the lead up to the National Weekend of Action BYS is releasing a series of provocative posters that aim to get young people thinking about the dangers of binge drinking.  The posters will be part of the official launch of Cringe the Binge on 19th October and they focus on the issues of alcohol and violence, sexual assault, sexually transmitted diseases, mental health issues and brain development.

All interested members of the northern rivers community are invited to attend the launch Friday 19th October at 10am in Apex Park Byron Bay. Organizers are asking everyone to wear a black tee shirt.

We welcome the involvement of parents, young people, the school communities, churches, police, sporting clubs, anyone who is interested in working together to support young people and help change Australia’s binge drinking culture.

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