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21 July 2021
The entire July 21, 2021 edition of The Weekly Advertiser is available online. READ IT HERE!
BY DYLAN DE JONG
Drug and drink-drive information sessions are one of many initiatives Wimmera football-
netball clubs are backing to promote driver safety for members across the region.
Article continues below
AFL Wimmera Mallee joined Victoria Police to run ‘Looking After Our Mates’ sessions at football and netball clubs to promote and educate members about the importance of staying safe on roads.
The presentations examined the effects of alcohol and other drugs on the body and aimed to start a conversation with young people about the importance of keeping their mates and themselves safe.
Trained sport and recreational club leaders helped lead the presentations with police and road-safety experts across Victoria.
Horsham sergeant Dale McIvor and Roadsafe Central Highlands representative Matthew Nevett joined Horsham Saints Football Netball Club leaders last week to run one of the presentations.
Club president Nathan Martin said road-safety messaging was particularly important for rural and regional clubs, where travelling long distances for games was common practice.
“It’s travelling between matches, but some young people are travelling back and forth to university or trade school as well,” he said.
“Our club also has experiences with members who have been impacted by road trauma – it’s something that we really need to promote.
“To lose a young person on the road is tragic and the ripple effect through the community is huge.”
Mr Martin said the influence of football and netball clubs in rural and regional communities made it the perfect place to promote road-safe messages for young people.
“We see ourselves as a key driver in delivering some of those messages,” he said.
“We have a lot of people in that younger age bracket, who might be new drivers who will follow their peer group and role models within their football or netball clubs. The footy club is often the best place to get some of that messaging because they’re not going to get it from elsewhere.”
Victoria’s Transport Accident Commission, TAC, reported alcohol was a major factor in road deaths in the state, with about 25 percent of drivers killed in road crashes having a Blood Alcohol Concentration, BAC, of 0.05 or greater.
AFL Wimmera Mallee executive officer Jennie French said the statistics highlighted a need to provide educational programs for young people.
“The program highlights the risks associated with drugs and alcohol and helps them build their own strategies to avoid drugs and driving,” she said
“It is a great education resource for committees to make available for their members and young adults within their clubs.”
The Saints were also set to support a TAC and AFL Victoria Road Safety Round at the weekend, however the match has been postponed due to the statewide COVID-19 lockdown.
Mr Martin said club members would wear blue armbands during the round, continuing on from an AFL tradition where players would wear black armbands to honour a death in the community.
“We want to promote the message to prevent our club members from having to wear a black armband to remember a friend,” he said.
More information about the blue armband campaign can be found online at www.tac.vic.gov.au/bandtogether.
Clubs can email AFL Wimmera Mallee at firstname.lastname@example.org to book a Looking After Our Mates session.