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Independent News For The Australian Public Service
Edition Number 399. Updated Tuesday, 04 March 2014

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Kids under influence of alcohol ads
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An Australian National Preventive Health Agency draft report warns that alcohol advertising and marketing is reaching children and adolescents and influencing them.

It warns that the current system for protecting adolescents and children from exposure to alcohol advertising is inadequate.

The Agency was asked to judge whether the current mix of provisions protects children and adolescents (aged 14-17 year olds) from exposure to alcohol advertising.

Considerable public concern exists that marketing and advertising of alcoholic beverages is influencing young Australians and contributing to patterns of harmful drinking.

The draft report, which is now open for consultation, made key recommendations.

These include removing the exemption in the Commercial Television Industry Code of Practice that allows for the direct advertising of alcohol products before 8.30pm as an accompaniment to the broadcast of live sporting events on weekends and public holidays.

Draft report warning

It also recommends improving the alcohol industry's self-regulatory code - called the Alcohol Beverages Advertising (and Packaging) Code (ABAC) - which governs the content of alcohol marketing.

It called for improvements to ensure that all forms of marketing are included within the code, and calls for better guidance on the interpretation of the provision designed to ensure that alcohol marketing doesn't appeal to children.

It said the current interpretation is excessively narrow.

It also recommended improving the code to ensure that sanctions are included in addition to the current sole sanction of amending or withdrawing an advertisement.

Finally, it wants an improved code for the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.

The draft report does not represent the views of Government, which considers the Agency's advice subsequent to a final report, which is due before June 2014.
Any interested person or organisation can make a written submission to the Agency.

Submissions are due by 5pm Friday 21 March 2014

The draft report and instructions on written submissions are available at this PS News link.

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