By Ian Neubauer
The Distilled Spirits Industry Council of Australia (DSICA) has announced it will put into action a temporary moratorium on alcohol TV advertising before 9.00pm.
The move – a first for the Australian liquor industry – will likely be seen as an effort to pre-empt the potential tightening of regulations for alcohol advertising following a call by Family First Senator Steve Fielding to delink alcohol and sport.
The moratorium on TV advertising will remain in place for 12 months, when its effectiveness in reducing the impact of binge drinking in the community will be assessed.
“The industry is committed to working with government and the community on programs designed to promote a responsible drinking culture,” said DSICA spokesperson, Stephen Riden.
“DSICA members remain committed to investing in sporting organisations, especially during these challenging financial times. We continue to believe that there is a legitimate and positive role for alcohol sponsorship in sport, and members will continue to invest in sporting organisations in ways that bring benefits to clubs, fans and the wider Australian community.”
But Australian Drug Foundation spokesperson Geoff Munroe said the move was designed to do no more than further the financial and political interests of DSICA and its members.
"This is the worst of tokenism from DSICA,” he said. “It extends by only 30 minutes the restriction on TV advertising of alcohol beyond 8:30pm and does not prevent spirits brands from sponsoring sport.
“DSICA appears to have hoodwinked Senator Fielding again. It has conceded virtually nothing and yet Senator Fielding again proclaims a victory. It is only a public relations victory for the spirits sector,” he said.
The moratorium on TV advertising for DSICA members will commence on July 1.