Prevention in Practice National Conference

MCEC: Melbourne Convention Exhibition Centre 24-25 June 2019

ADF Conference banner

Community-led action to reduce the harm of alcohol and other drugs

The 2019 National Prevention in Practice Conference will deliver local and international speakers sharing their expertise on strengthening capacity of community-led action on alcohol and other drugs.

Explore various models of prevention and discover practical examples of successful strategies that have mobilised communities.

Aimed at community leaders, alcohol and other drug (AOD) workers and people passionate about prevention strategies in the alcohol and drug sector, the Conference themes will include:

  • the role of sport as a protective factor against alcohol and other drugs
  • peers and their role in protecting from AOD-related harm
  • prevention in a range of complex settings such as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, education and culturally diverse communities.

Conference Program

Over one-and-a-half days, leading local and international experts will share inspiring examples of community-led prevention models and case studies that are making a difference.

Featuring world-renowned keynote presenters, community speakers and lively panel discussions, this highly informative event will provide you with new ideas and practical examples of prevention in practice to take back to your workplace, club or community.

Networking opportunities will also be high on the agenda.

Conference booklet:

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Program - Monday 24 June (8.45 am - 5.00 pm)

Jill Stark

MC - Jill Stark

Author Journalist & Media Consultant


8:45 am - Welcome To Country

9:00 am - Official Opening

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9:10 am - Erin Lalor AM, CEO of the Alcohol and Drug Foundation

An introduction to prevention in practice.

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9:30 am - Jón Sigfússon

Director of Planet Youth, Icelandic Centre for Social Research and Analysis

Planet Youth – Iceland’s hugely successful program, now being adopted around the world.


10:10 AM - Community Speakers

Youth Ambassador Program - Murray Bridge, South Australia

A peer support program across multiple schools, providing education and involvement in local events and a focus on resilience and mental health through Headspace.

The Cook, the Chef and Us - Hepburn, Victoria

VicHealth Award’s shortlisted program, aimed at mitigating school disengagement by providing students with opportunities to learn new skills, obtain vocational qualifications and improve self-confidence.


10:40 AM - Morning Tea (30 mins)


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11:10 AM - Unpacking the Black Box: Community Based Prevention

Håkan Leifman

Regional Director, Nordic Countries Planet Youth, Icelandic Center for Social Research and Analysis

11:30 AM - Community Speakers

Prevention Through Peer Support - Blue Mountains, NSW

An accessible, youth-friendly, peer designed program aimed at increasing awareness of the harms of risky drinking and drug use amongst young people. The program strengthens knowledge, skills, confidence, resilience and positive social connections of both peer educators and their audience.

Youth Off The Streets - Bankstown, NSW

Building on an earlier peer education project, Youth Off The Streets was co-designed by youth peer educators, local youth and youth workers. It is designed to improve the decision-making of youth participants; increase participation and retention; and develop youth workers’ alcohol and other drug skills.

Panel Discussion


12:20 PM – Lunch (1 hour)


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1:20 PM - Communities That Care

Professor John Toumbourou

Chair in Health Psychology, Deakin University

1:50 PM - Community Speakers

Strengthening school engagement - Queensland Blue Light Association

A Queensland Blue Light Association-lead program, providing cultural, social and sporting activities to Queensland youth under 18 in an environment free from drugs, alcohol and violence.

IMPACT! - Warrnambool, Vic

This project engaged year 7 students from three local schools in a social emotional wellbeing coaching program, called IMPACT!, It provided a safe space for young people to share their concerns, challenge themselves and build peer and community relationships outside school hours. IMPACT! gained 100% support from all three schools and 100% engagement from students’ families.

Education in Schools - Limestone Coast, SA

Alcohol and other drugs forums, a pilot school AOD program and development of a small-town model for engaging partners to develop and implement AOD activities lies at the heart of this program, which was backed by Mount Gambier City Council.

Panel discussion


2:55 PM – Afternoon Tea (20 mins)


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3:15 PM - Climate Schools and Positive Choices

Maree Teesson

The Matilda Centre for Research in Mental Health and Substance Use

3:45 PM Community Speakers

Safe partying - University of WA College Row, Western Australia

A consortium of residential colleges combined to develop this behaviour change program promoting safe partying centred around an online ‘Managing Alcohol at College Events: a College Row Toolkit and Training program’, which is now receiving interest from other residential colleges in Australia.

Reducing stigma - Stirling, Western Australia

A multi-faceted program using a range of channels to address stigma including local media, Facebook, education for parents and strategies to build protective factors among youth.

Building our future - Devonport, Tasmania

A mentorship program for young people that aims to increase community cohesion, the development of new skills and self-efficacy in participants, and provide a safe community space for diversionary activities. The project pairs high school students with a mentor to create a playscape (natural play space).

Panel Discussion

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Program - Tuesday 25 June (8.45am to 1.30pm)

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MC – Kim Brennan

Olympic Athlete & Director, Australian Sports Foundation


9:00 AM - Acknowledgement of Country - AOD Awards announcement

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9:10 AM - Margret Lilja Gudmundsdottir

Data Specialist and Lecturer

Planet Youth, Icelandic Centre for Social Research and Analysis

9:40 AM - Community Speakers

Increasing participation - Mornington Peninsula, Victoria

ACTIVATE is a community-based sport and recreation program established in 2017. ACTIVATE provides scholarships for children aged 6 to 18 years to participate in local sport and recreational activities.

Strong and connected communities - Bunbury Geographe Aboriginal LDAT, WA

A program providing a range of unstructured activities for young people to connect into that also generates opportunities for parents to connect. Initially focused on Aboriginal children, the program has appealed to a  broader community audience, prompting additional local investment.

Pathways to participation - Moree, New South Wales

The Moree Touch Football Competition is a ‘No Workshop No Play’ activity. It is about reconnecting young people, particularly those who would not normally engage in sport due to family, social and economic impacts, through sport. This activity also encourages their supports (parents, family members, coaches, referees, carers, guardians, service providers) to participate in facilitated educational drug and alcohol information sessions/workshops prior to commencement of each game.

Good Sports: Strengthening sport as a protective factor

Geoff Munro from the Alcohol and Drug Foundation will present on the national Good Sports program, which empowers communities to change attitudes towards alcohol and sport at a grassroots level.


10:45 AM – Morning Tea (30 mins)


11:15 AM - Community Speakers

Midnight Basketball - Mildura, Victoria

Homebase, a local youth-led collective, partnered with local service providers to give youth an opportunity to make meaningful connections with peers and service sector or agency staff through basketball. A six week Midnight Basketball tournament ran on Friday nights between 7.30pm- 12am. The initiative engaged youth on Friday nights to provide alternative activities to drug and alcohol use. The initiative also provided youth with meaningful volunteering opportunities, both on the steering committee as well as specific roles during the tournament evenings.

Basketball for all - Palmerston Basketball Association (Good Sports Club), NT

Award-wining Palmerston Basketball Association identified a local need and used their sport, facilities and resources to solve it. Along the way, they became the Good Sports Club of the year in 2017.

WA Country Footy Club Leadership Pilot - WA Country Footy, WA

This program is working with and supporting the WA Country Football League and new clubs to develop suitable AOD policies and systems as well as establishing a peer support network from current footballers, upskilling them to be better positioned to respond to community needs.

Panel Discussion


12:15 AM - Closing address Erin Lalor AM

CEO of the Alcohol and Drug Foundation

12:30 AM – Lunch


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Keynotes, MCs and Speakers

Hear from international and local experts.

This will be a unique opportunity to learn firsthand from Planet Youth, Iceland’s hugely successful program to combat teenage smoking, drinking and drug use – an intervention model that is now being adopted in around 100 communities in 24 different countries.

Jón Sigfússon is Director of both Planet Youth and the Icelandic Centre of Social Research and Analysis, He leads work with local governments in developing capacity within local communities to reduce the impact of alcohol and other drugs focusing on youth. He has published and lectured extensively in “Evidence based policymaking in the field of drug prevention” and “Adolescence Substance Abuse prevention.”

Hear about Communities That Care and its applicability in Australia. Communities That Care (CTC: www.communitiesthatcare.org.au) is an evidence-based, community-change process for reducing youth problem behaviours, including harmful substance use, crime, low academic achievement, early school leaving, sexual risk-taking, and violence. The CTC approach applies the most up-to-date knowledge and research to foster healthy social development among children and youth.

Professor John Toumbourou is the Chair in Health Psychology and a prominent researcher and health advocate. He has been influential internationally and nationally in assisting the development of research and practise in the fields of prevention science and health psychology. He has received international awards for his contributions in these areas and has been influential in reshaping Australian health policies to more effectively address adolescent alcohol misuse and related problems.

Prof Teesson will be discussing Climate Schools and Positive Choices.

She is Professor and Director of The Matilda Centre for Research in Mental Health and Substance Use, Director of the NHMRC Centre of Research Excellence in Prevention and Early Intervention in Mental Illness and Substance Use (PREMISE) and NHMRC Principal Research Fellow at The University of Sydney. She is also a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Health and Medical Sciences and the Australian Academy of Social Sciences, a National Mental Health Commissioner and Member, National Health and Medical Research Council. She is also a founding member of The MHS Management Committee since 1991.

Maree’s vision is to build the world’s leading dedicated translational research program for the prevention and treatment of co-occurring mental health and substance use problems. She seeks to increase our understanding of substance use and mental health problems, prevent these where possible and improve treatment responses.  Maree was announced as a Companion of the Order of Australia in the Australia Day 2018 Honours List.

Margrét Lilja Guðmundsdóttir is an assistant professor at Reykjavik University, Sport Science department, working with ICSRA (Icelandic Centre for Social Research and Analysis) for more than 19 years. She is an expert on the Icelandic public health model and been promoting it in Iceland and abroad for years. Margrét holds a bachelor and a Master degree in Sociology from the University in Iceland.

Håkan was appointed Regional Director of Planet Youth in January 2019 and is also Senior Adviser, Public Affairs at Ipsos.

Prior to his appointment to Planet Youth, Håkan was Director (CEO) of CAN (The Swedish Council for Information on Alcohol and Other Drugs).

He is currently serving on the Boards of the Swedish alcohol retail monopoly company (Systembolaget) and the Swedish Cancer Society and is a Doctor in Sociology and Research at Sweden’s world famous Karolinska Institutet.

Jill Stark is a best-selling author and award-winning journalist. Her latest book, Happy Never After: Why The Happiness Fairytale Is Driving Us Mad (And How I Flipped The Script) is a forensic exploration of our relentless pursuit of happiness in an age of anxiety, told through her own mental health journey.

Jill’s first book, High Sobriety: My Year without Booze is a best-selling memoir about her year off the grog and examines Australia’s binge drinking culture. It was shortlisted for the Kibble Literary Awards and was a finalist in the Walkley Book of the Year. Her extensive coverage of alcohol issues saw her twice win the media excellence award at the Australian Drug and Alcohol Awards.

Jill spent 10 years as a Senior Writer and Columnist at The Age where she was well known for her campaigning journalism in human rights, social justice and LGBTI equality. She now works as a freelance writer, journalism lecturer and media consultant. Her third book will be published in September.

Kim is a Director on the Australian Sports Foundation and sits on its Audit and Risk Committee, as well as a number of other international and national boards and committees. She is passionate about the power of sport to build communities and inspire us to be better versions of ourselves.

She volunteers with schools and sporting clubs involved in promoting healthy lifestyles and has worked with sports organisations in implementing strategy and governance reforms.

Kim is also a qualified legal practitioner working in Advisory with global organisation Ernst & Young. She specialises in ethical organisations and culture change in a world being disrupted by technology.

Combining her legal work with life as an elite sportsperson, Kim is an Olympic Champion from Rio 2016, a dual World Champion from 2013 and 2015, and an Olympic Silver and Bronze medallist from London 2012. She was voted World Female Rower of the Year in 2013. She won the Australian Female Athlete of the Year award in 2013 and 2016.

She has been awarded a Member of the Order of Australia for her contribution to sport and the community and named in the Australian Financial Review’s Top 100 Women of Influence in 2018.

Dr. Erin Lalor was appointed Chief Executive Officer of the Alcohol and Drug Foundation in November 2017.

Erin has over 20 years of leadership experience in the health sector, working in clinical, academic and executive roles, and was most recently the CEO of the National Stroke Foundation and a Director of the World Stroke Organisation.  She sits on a number of advisory committees in relation to public health, clinical improvements and evidence-based approaches to healthcare delivery.  Erin has a strong track record in developing and strengthening organisations and brings a vast range of skills and experience to the ADF.

Erin was announced as a Member of the Order of Australia in the Australia Day 2019 Honours List.

Community Showcase

Leading community-led prevention programs will be featured with representatives from ADF’s Drug Action Teams and Good Sports Clubs providing insights into how they are addressing alcohol and drug harms at the local level as well as practical tips for you to take back to your workforce.