Documentary follows Wodonga man's life-changing choice

Michael Rose. His story of reducing his alcohol intake for the
betterment of his family and his health is the subject of a new documentary.

Wodonga man Michael Rose has turned his life around in the past six months as part of the Who’s it Gonna Hurt? campaign with Wodonga’s Local Drug Action Team, the Wodonga Council and VicHealth.

His life-changing and inspiring story is now the subject of a short documentary that will be launched on Thursday, November 29 on the eve of the Wodonga Gold Cup.

The campaign will feature at the annual racing event to encourage patrons to drink responsibly.

Launched in February, the campaign followed Michael as he set about reducing his alcohol intake with the help of medical professionals.

It was accompanied by a marketing campaign inspired by classic Aussie beer and alcohol brands, using the distinctive labels of drink cans and bottles to deliver simple but powerful messages illustrating the negative impact of drinking on local workers.

Michael, a father of three, would regularly drink between six to 12 stubbies a night.

He made the public commitment to cut down his drinking for his health and to be there for his young family and hoped being open about it would act as a way to motivate him.

“This is one of the best journeys I think I’ve been on,” Michael said.

“I’ve just completed my first dry July, I’ve had one drink since then, and I don’t miss it.

“I feel a helluva lot better than I’ve ever felt, it’s awesome.

“My health has improved immensely, I feel fantastic, far, far more energetic than I’ve felt in a long time, just everything’s been a lot better.”

Michael is encouraging others to do the same and offers some encouraging words.

“My mates are jumping on board like you wouldn’t believe, friends far and wide are doing it now,” he said.

“I would say don’t be scared, just get up and have a go, just keep trying. The more you keep persisting, it’s going to happen.”

Deputy Mayor Cr Kat Bennett, who will launch the documentary, said Michael’s story was an inspiration for his mates and the Wodonga community.

“Who’s it Gonna Hurt is an amazing campaign that is really getting people talking about their alcohol intake,” Cr Bennett said.

“I would like to congratulate Michael on his courage and commitment in seeing this through and for the amazing changes he has made for his health and for his family.

“We can see, from the documentary, that his whole family are happier, he feels healthier and you can just see that shine out of him.

“This campaign has already changed one life that we know about and I hope it will change many more.”

Who’s it Gonna Hurt? is being delivered by Wodonga Council with support from Wodonga’s Local Drug Action Team and is one of nine projects under way across Victoria as part of VicHealth’s Alcohol Culture Change initiative.

The initiative aims to change cultures of risky drinking in Victoria by building peer support for low-risk drinking.

VicHealth CEO Jerril Rechter said reducing the social acceptability of risky drinking was key to changing the drinking culture in Victoria and Australia.

“Who’s it Gonna Hurt is about getting older drinkers in the region to think about their drinking, as well as providing them with social support to reduce their alcohol consumption,” Ms Rechter said.

“Our vision is to see people socially supporting one another to reduce high risk drinking, resulting in reduced harm for the individual, their family, people in the vicinity and the broader community.”

More information available at whositgonnahurt.com.au


Compared to the rest of Victoria, Wodonga has a much higher incidence of alcohol-related injury and violence.

Injury/violence involving alcohol or other drugs (rate per 10,000 people):

  • Emergency department presentations: 19.9 (Wodonga) 13.8 (Victoria)
  • Family violence: 42.5 (Wodonga) 21.9 (Victoria)
  • Serious road injury: 4.1(Wodonga) 1.7 (Victoria)
  • Assault: 19.1 (Wodonga) 13.8 (Victoria)

40.5% of Wodonga men are at risk of short-term alcohol-related harm each month

Alcohol and drug use is a factor in almost half of family violence incidents in Wodonga

Wodonga has more than twice the Victorian average of serious road injuries involving alcohol