The Western Australian Government has moved to ban alcohol advertising on public transport, a move which has been criticised by Alcohol Beverages Australia (ABA).
The Government said that alcohol advertising on train infrastructure has now stopped that it will be phased out from buses in March 2019. Fergus Taylor, the Executive Director of ABA said that Western Australians working in the alcohol beverages industry will be disappointed with the Government’s decision, adding that it is not supported by evidence and that the move has been made without any meaningful consultation with the industry.
“All alcohol ads in WA are already strictly regulated by the Alcohol Beverages Advertising Code to make sure they don’t target or appeal to young people, and there is no evidence that alcohol advertising causes underage drinking,” Taylor said.
“Parental influence and peer behaviour are widely acknowledged as the main factors impacting a young person’s decision to drink and the continuing decline in underage drinking shows the targeted measures already in place are working and helping young people make better decisions.
“Underage drinking and risky drinking by young Australians has been falling for the last 15 years with the latest Government figures showing 82 per cent of 12-17-year-olds don’t drink at all.
“The industry goes to great lengths to ensure alcohol is produced, marketed and sold responsibly. RSA has never been stronger, there are large fines for those who supply alcohol to minors and our educational campaigns, like ‘Kids absorb your drinking’ and ‘How To drink Properly’ continue to target the real causes of underage and harmful drinking and help to change the way young people think about alcohol.”
He added: “The industry is also seeking clarity about whether the ban extends to festivals, local craft breweries and distillers, wine tastings and restaurants, all of which play a significant role in the state’s tourism industry.
“The industry will continue to encourage the WA Government to explore proven and effective targeted solutions to address problem drinking, in favour of blunt population wide policies, such as banning alcohol advertising, which have consistently proven to be ineffective.”
In announcing the ban, Transport Minister, Rita Saffioti, said: “After coming to Government, I asked the PTA to look into how it might achieve a total ban on alcohol advertising on all its property – rolling stock and fixed infrastructure.
“I decided that the most prudent course of action was to allow the existing APN contracts to run their course, but that alcohol advertising be prohibited under any new agreements or contract extension options.
“I am pleased we have been able to achieve this ban on alcohol advertising on public transport in a practical and relatively short timeframe.”
The APN agreements currently generate revenue of about $8m a year for the PTA in Western Australia, of which alcohol advertising accounts for about $160,000 (about two per cent).