The West

Calls grow for teenage booze ban
In the first year of a new law in Victoria 41 parents were fined giving alcohol to other people's children without consent. File picture: Becky Felstead

One of the country's leading health organisations has joined calls for WA to follow four other States in banning the supply of alcohol to children without parental consent.

Australian Drug Foundation policy chief Geoff Munro said Victoria and Tasmania had introduced secondary supply laws after tragedy befell two drunk teenagers and WA should not wait for similar circumstances before legislating.

The laws are being considered as part of a review of the WA Liquor Control Act but they are yet to win the support of Racing and Gaming Minister Terry Waldron.

Mr Waldron has said "significant legal issues" would have to be overcome to implement the laws, which he claimed had yielded few prosecutions interstate.

Mr Munro said he was puzzled by the remarks because during the first year the laws were in force in Victoria, 41 parents had been fined up to $720 each for giving alcohol to other people's children without their guardians' consent.

He said the breaches attracted on-the-spot fines, which did not result in court appearances or prosecutions unless offenders refused to pay.

Mr Munro said the Victorian Government had contracted the foundation to deliver a secondary supply education program to parents, who supported the law.

"That parents like having the law to back up their denial of alcohol to young people shows how much pressure parents are under and how much young people expect to drink under-age," he said.

Victorian father Bruce Clark waged a 12-year campaign for secondary supply laws after the 1999 death of his son Leigh, who died of hypothermia in a paddock when he was drunk on liquor supplied by a friend's parent.

"I hope WA heeds the warning that we can act ahead of time to prevent the worst outcomes of teenage drinking," Mr Munro said.

Opposition Leader Mark McGowan said he broadly supported secondary supply laws but he thought it was "at the edges" of a wider societal issue.

Mr Waldron was invited to clarify what significant legal issues he expected but he declined.

The West Australian

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