HEAD of Orange’s Liquor Accord Bill Kelly has staunchly defended Orange liquor outlets saying they abide by the law when it comes to the sale of alcohol to minors.
Mr Kelly said it is the high percentage of parents and friends who provide liquor to their children who are a cause for concern following the release of a study of school students by the University of Newcastle.
In the survey released earlier this week it was friends, family and older siblings who were responsible for the supply of alcohol to minors ahead of bottle shops and pubs and bars.
Mr Kelly said Orange liquor outlets take their responsibility seriously and following the release of the study initiated by the Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education it is the role of parents in allowing their children access to alcohol, which is a major issue for authorities trying to rein in under-age drinking.
Mr Kelly said the issues surrounding the illegal consumption of alcohol is nothing new to Australian society.
“Young people have been trying to get hold of alcohol before they come of age for a very long time - and society almost sees it as right of passage,” he said.
It is parents, he said who have to take a mature approach to the way they introduce alcohol to their children.
“Otherwise you have them not able to drink one day, and then they drink as much as they like the next,” he said.
“I have bought up four teenage boys and for parents it is a real challenge.
“In a way parents have to try and keep their young people on an invisible leash where at times you can give them some slack and other times rein them in.”
He said he empathises with parents who try to teach responsible consumption of alcohol.
“Sometimes it can be all about luck because of all the other influences coming into play, and unfortunately that is why some young people don’t make it through that risky age group particularly 18 - 22,” he said.
Mr Kelly said strict laws in relation to alcohol don’t always reflect the standards of individuals in our society.
“But many people would see it as taking a responsible attitude if parents introduce their children to alcohol in a controlled and supervised environment at home, where for example at 17 they could have a glass of wine at dinner with the family,” he said.