By Andrew Starke
The alcohol industry cannot be trusted to regulate itself and continues to latch on to new and impressionable drinkers at the earliest opportunity.
This is the view of the Australian Drug Foundation (ADF), which believes the Federal Government should implement an independent liquor industry regulator and ban alcohol companies from advertising during live daytime sports broadcasts.
The Alcohol Policy Coalition (APC), of which the ADF is a member, welcomed the Government’s response to the preventative health taskforce report in last week’s budget but said it was wanting in critical areas, such as alcohol advertising and taxation reform.
“The alcohol industry cannot be trusted to regulate itself – there is no incentive for alcohol companies to cease targeting young people – rather; it’s in the industry’s interest to latch on to new and impressionable drinkers at the earliest opportunity,” said VicHealth CEO, Todd Harper.
“The Government can fix this by implementing an independent industry regulator and removing the loophole in advertising regulations that lets alcohol companies advertise during live daytime sports broadcasts.”
The Government has committed $50 million over four years towards an extension of the National Binge Drinking Strategy but an ADF spokesperson, Sarah Jaggard, questioned how far this would go in tackling alcohol-related harm to the community.
“The Government has also failed to address the impact of alcohol advertising, preferring to ‘pursue voluntary and collaborative approaches with the alcohol industry to promote a more responsible approach to alcohol’,” she said.
Although misidentified as ‘an alcohol industry body’, TheShout was also in Jaggard’s sights, with our budget coverage last week described as ‘nauseating’.
“And in a nauseating turn, an alcohol industry body claims on its website that the liquor industry has ‘welcomed the Government’s budget which will have little direct impact on the sector and resisted imposing punitive measures… it is a testament to such industry bodies and the industry’s voluntary compliance with self-regulation that most of the taskforce’s recommendations on alcohol have been rejected’,” she said.
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