By Ian Neuabuer

The Council of Australian Government (COAG) will be asked to water down self-regulation for alcohol advertising when it meets in Hobart today (Apr 30) to review ways to tackle youth binge drinking.

The request will be put forward in the form of recommendations drafted by the Ministerial Council of Drug Strategy (MSDS) – a key policy making body for drugs and alcohol – which reckons the existing Alcohol Beverages Advertising Code (ABAC) is failing and should be turned into a mandatory co-regulatory scheme.

The recommendations include the pre-vetting of all alcohol advertising by the government; placing more health experts on the ABAC board; expanding the coverage of the scheme to include emerging media, point-of sale and naming and packaging; as well as “meaningful and effective” sanctions for breaches of the Code.

The MCDC will also ask COAG to call on the trade to cease production of RTDs that contain energy drinks, reduce the alcohol content of RTDs and stop using what it desrbied as “alcohol-masking agents” like sweeteners that it said leads to early introduction to alcohol by young people.

Australian Drug Foundation policy manager Geoff Munro said the recommendations were sound and the Code had to be expanded to include all forms of media. 

“Important issues that are not dealt with by the ABAC are the placement of alcohol advertising and young people’s exposure to it,” he said.

“While the code prohibits the explicit targeting of young people, it allows advertising to invade public spaces, public transport, sports events, etc, where young people cannot avoid being subject to alcohol brand promotion.”

The Shout Team

The leading online news service for Australia's beer, wine, spirits and hospitality industries.

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