The Hon. Mary Wooldridge answers our questions about alcohol culture change and the Name that Point campaign.
What’s Name that Point about?
Most people drink responsibly, but about 1 in 10 Victorians drink more than healthy limits every week, with risky drinking highest amongst young people. This has consequences for people’s physical and mental health. It can also involve people in road or other trauma.
And this is why the Victorian Coalition Government has partnered with VicHealth on the Name That Point campaign to encourage young Victorians to start talking openly about alcohol and the role it plays in their lives.
Why does it target young people specifically?
We want to try and move towards a culture in Victoria where excessive drinking isn’t seen as the norm. Many people grow up believing that getting extremely intoxicated is a rite of passage. Alcohol consumption is falling over all, but some young people are binge drinking more often. Young people are also the group most likely to come to harm from being drunk by being in a vehicle or from alcohol-fuelled violence. We don’t want young Victorians to come to harm so this is where we are focusing our efforts.
How is this approach different to other alcohol campaigns?
This campaign does not tell people what to do or how to run their lives. It invites us to talk about our relationship with alcohol. And we know that we’re ready for a change: a 2013 national poll found that 75 per cent of Australians believe we have a problem with excessive drinking. Name That Point is about having a discussion about drinking so that people can think more carefully about where the point in the night is that our drinking has gone too far.
What do you hope to achieve with the competition?
We want people to recognise that they don’t have to drink to excess in order to have a good time. By encouraging a reasonable approach to drinking, people can make positive, healthier choices. We are inviting all Victorians to join a community conversation and about changing our culture of accepting excessive drinking in Victoria. People will also get the chance to directly contribute to further messages in the campaign.
What happens after the competition closes?
We will use what we learn from the community over the campaign to find the messages that will encourage young people to think about the point at which they decide to call it a night, and to support young people who would like to say no to getting excessively drunk.
Will a positively-framed campaign make a difference?
It takes time to change attitudes. We’re trying something new that we’ve never done before. By engaging the Victorian community in a positive conversation about alcohol we will start to change our attitudes about alcohol. Most young people just need encouragement to make the good decisions about their health.
How does this campaign fit in with the bigger picture of reducing alcohol harm in Victoria?
The Name That Point campaign is part of the Victorian Coalition’s Government’s Reducing the alcohol and drug toll: Victoria’s plan 2013-17. This plan sets out how the Victorian Coalition Government will work with the community so that all Victorians can lead safe and healthy lives free from the harms associated with the misuse of alcohol and drugs.
Visit www.namethatpoint.com to get involved. The ultimate winner who names that point will receive $5000.