Lara Sinclair & Simon Canning;2/9/09; (3 Items)
The sports, alcohol, media and advertising industries are among those crying foul over a government report that recommends phasing out alcohol sponsorship of sport and advertising of unhealthy food and drinks on television before 9pm. Mark Champion, executive director of the Advertising Federation of Australia, dismissed the National Preventative Health Taskforce report, released yesterday, as “more of a political statement than an attempt to limit marketing to achieve health outcomes”. The report, which lays out the government’s blueprint for reducing obesity, smoking and binge-drinking, recommended phasing out alcohol promotions in times when people aged up to 25 are watching – including banning advertising during live sports broadcasts. The marketing of unhealthy foods on free-to-air and pay-TV would also be phased out, with legislation to be introduced within four years if the self-regulatory framework could not show it was cutting children’s exposure to such activities.
Smokers to pay in sin tax boost
Siobhain Ryan & Pia Akerman2/9/09
Smokers stand to boost Treasury coffers by $2 billion through a 17.5c-a-cigarette excise hike, with drinkers next in line for a new round of sin taxes. Kevin Rudd’s National Preventative Health Taskforce yesterday dramatically ratcheted up pressure on the government by pre-empting the results of its tax review and backing opposition proposals for a tobacco excise hike and a new alcohol pricing regime. The taskforce chairman, Rob Moodie, said after the launch of the 300-page strategy that the current window for change represented “the best opportunity we’ve had for prevention in a generation”. More than 800,000 Australians could be saved from early deaths if the strategy achieved its targeted reduction in smoking and risky drinking rates and stabilised obesity levels.
Junk logic is shielding junk food adverts
Jane Martin & Boyd Swinburn; 2/9/08
The Australian Communications and Media Authority has nailed its colours to the mast: business for junk food advertisers is more important than preventing childhood obesity. After two years of consulting and listening to evidence, the authority finally released its review of children’s television standards yesterday. In doing so, it has chosen to ignore recommendations by leading health organisations and experts who have long been calling for much tighter restrictions on junk food advertising. More than 90 per cent of the public also support such measures, according to a recent poll. The recommendations include only trivial changes to regulations that have not been substantially reviewed for more than 20 years. The main problem with the standards has not been addressed – namely that they only apply to advertising during low-rating, dedicated children’s programming (which averages one hour per day, usually from 4pm to 5pm), whereas five times more children watch TV between 6pm and 9pm on weekdays, the period in which the highest number of junk food ads are screened.