Young drinkers on a tight rein
THE organisers of the Ballina and Lismore Cups will continue their crusade on under-age drinking with strict measures being enforced for this month’s events.
Tomorrow’s Ballina Cup meeting, which will attract about 4000 punters keen for a party, will use coloured wristbands to identify those able to drink, while the Lismore Cup, on September 23, will ban those under 18.
“We will still allow children who are under-age to come to the races, but they have to be in the company of an adult at all times,” Ballina Jockey Club secretary-manager Sarah Wills said.
“Many of us on the committee remember going to the races with our families and enjoying the outing, and we want to foster that, but we also want to run a good, safe day.
“Last year we gave wristbands to those aged 18 to 25 who were drinking, and anyone not wearing a wristband in that age group was not allowed to purchase alcohol. It worked well.
“We have a very strong security presence. We have marshals and security guards at each bar, as well as the bar staff, so if there is any doubt it would be very difficult for someone under-age to get a drink.”
The one wristband for the ‘suspect’ age group has evolved over the years from having a green wristband for those over-age and a red one for those under-age.
“We found having one wristband made it easier for us to manage,” Ms Wills said.
Michael Timbrell, secretary-manager of the Lismore Turf Club, said the ban on those aged between 12 and 17 worked well last year when the club hosted 7000 punters.
“It’s a policy we tried last year for the first time and while we allow smaller children under 12 in the company of adults, we believe it’s common sense not to allow older kids because it is not a family fun day. It’s always been a party day,” he said.
“This decision was something the committee was divided on last year, but this year everyone agreed because it worked so well.
“The turf club is a licensed premises, like any pub, and anyone under 18 can’t go into a pub, so we applied the same conditions with the full support of local high schools and the police.”