New alcohol industry ad rules dismissed as window dressing

New alcohol industry ad rules dismissed as window dressing

20 July 2017

New advertising placement rules developed by the alcohol industry are unlikely to reduce young people’s exposure to alcohol promotion in any meaningful way, and highlight yet again the need for independent regulation of all forms of alcohol marketing to protect young people.

“There is a clear need for comprehensive controls on the content, placement and volume of alcohol marketing, but alcohol advertisers should not be the ones designing those controls”, said Julia Stafford, Executive Officer of the McCusker Centre for Action on Alcohol and Youth which runs the Alcohol Advertising Review Board.

“There are significant conflicts of interest at play – the Directors of the ABAC Scheme and the majority of its Management Committee represent the major brewers, distillers and winemakers in Australia. It’s no wonder the new ‘placement rules’ appear to be designed to look like the industry is addressing alcohol ad placement, without actually doing anything.

“We are not aware of any information about how these ‘placement rules’ can be expected to protect young people. We do not know how the provisions were developed, who was consulted, or if any data modelling was conducted to provide an evidence base for the rules”.

“The new placement provisions are incredibly generous to alcohol advertisers. For example, alcohol ads are allowed on television where at least 75% of the audience are adults. This approach hasn’t worked in other countries and it won’t work in Australia. Those aged under 18 years account for less than 25% of the Australian population and even a seemingly modest proportion of the TV audience can represent hundreds of thousands of young viewers.”

Michael Moore, co-chair of the National Alliance for Action on Alcohol (NAAA) said, “This is another sign that the alcohol industry is fearful of future independent regulation of alcohol marketing.

“The new ‘rules’ fail to address the significant gaps and weaknesses in the voluntary system – the ABAC Scheme still does not apply to alcohol sponsorship, there are few restrictions for outdoor media and the loophole allowing alcohol ads in weekend sport during children’s TV viewing times remains.

“These weak provisions should not deter the Australian Government from taking action to introduce effective alcohol marketing regulation that prioritises the health of young people”.

Please see New alcohol industry ad rules dismissed as window dressing_media release_200717 for the PDF of the media release.

More support needed to cut back on alcohol

14 September 2016

Over 1 in 4 Australian adults consumed alcohol at levels which put them at risk of short-term harm in 2013, according to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) flagship report, Australia’s health 2016.

“A real concern is 39% of young people drank alcohol at levels that put them at risk of harm,” said Dr John Crozier, Co-Chair of the National Alliance for Action on Alcohol.

“According to the report, alcohol contributed to over 5% of the total burden of disease and injury in Australia in 2011. Among motor vehicle occupants, alcohol was responsible for 28% of the burden due to traffic accidents,” said Dr Crozier.

“Alcohol was responsible for almost a quarter of the health burden due to suicide and self-inflicted injuries, and of chronic liver disease,” Dr Crozier continued.

“Australians have a growing understanding of the health risks from alcohol. The proportion of adults who consumed alcohol at risky levels decreased between 2010 and 2013. Unfortunately, many people find cutting back difficult,” said Dr Crozier.

Australia’s health 2016 shows alcohol was the leading drug for which people sought treatment from alcohol and other drug treatment services. It was the drug of principle concern for almost 2 in 5 people seeking treatment.

“For people wanting to cut back on their drinking, it can feel like an uphill battle they face alone. Governments have the opportunity to help those people who want to reduce their alcohol consumption and minimise their risk of developing chronic diseases,” said Dr Crozier.

“Some ways the Government could do this are by limiting alcohol advertising, especially to children and on public transport. In a time of budget austerity, taxing alcohol in line with the harm it does to our community would be a sensible step forward. This should include replacing the wine equalisation tax with a volumetric tax on alcohol,” said Dr Crozier.

“It’s not about creating a ‘Nanny State’, it’s about helping people make decisions that protect their own health and the health of those around them,” continued Dr Crozier.

“The Government needs to support communities that want to put sensible limits on trading hours of bars and pubs, including last drinks at 3am. It is about listening to the community and doing what’s best for the health of Australians,” concluded Dr Crozier.


Devin Bowles – 02 6171 1306 or 02 6247 1187 after hours

About the National Alliance for Action on Alcohol:

The National Alliance for Action on Alcohol (NAAA) is a national coalition representing more than 90 organisations from across Australia. NAAA’s members cover a diverse range of interests, including public health, law enforcement, local government, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health, child and adolescent health, and family and community services.


Time for all political parties to ban alcohol advertising to kids

29 June 2016: There is still time for all major parties to commit to closing the loophole that allows alcohol advertising to children during televised sporting events says Dr John Crozier, co-chair of the National Alliance for Action on Alcohol (NAAA).

Today the Greens launched a policy to end advertising alcohol on TV to children during sporting events. The policy would ban alcohol ads on commercial TV when children are watching, from 6am-9am and from 4pm-9pm when school is in, and between 6am and 9pm on weekends and school holidays.

“We know drinking is bad for people under 18 years. Drinking from a young age can harm the developing brain, and increase the risk of alcohol-related problems as a teenager and adult. Young people may also make poor choices while under the influence of alcohol, endangering themselves and those around them,” said Dr Crozier.

“The community expects the government to protect our children and young people from aggressive advertising by the big alcohol companies. 70% of Australians support banning alcohol ads on TV before 8:30pm. It is time for all of the major parties to join with ordinary Australians,” said Dr Crozier.

“Today, the Greens have shown leadership on this important issue. Commercial interests have been prioritised over expert advice and community concerns, and it is time for all political parties to step in and acknowledge the failure of self-regulation and the need for legislated controls,” Dr Crozier continued.

“Our children are exposed to far too much alcohol advertising. It is hard to watch sport on Australian TV without being hit with a flood of alcohol ads,” said Dr Crozier.

“There is clear evidence children and young people who are exposed to alcohol advertising start drinking earlier. Among those already drinking, alcohol advertising increases the amount they drink,” said Dr Crozier.

“Many parents are stuck between a rock and a hard place. They like sport’s messages about fitness and a healthy lifestyle for their kids, but they don’t like the association with alcohol. They don’t want their children to think that alcohol helps with sporting achievement or social success,” said Dr Crozier.

The NAAA election priorities are available at



Sophie Brown – 0421 749 608

Saturation of Alcohol Advertising in State of Origin a Disgrace

Tomorrow’s first State of Origin match signals the beginning of young Australians being exposed to the mass alcohol advertising to come over the State of Origin games says co-chair of the National Alliance for Action on Alcohol (NAAA) Committee Dr John Crozier.

“It is shameful that children continue to be exposed to harmful alcohol advertising as families tune their televisions to live sporting events like the State of Origin,” said Dr Crozier, also Chair of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons Trauma Committee.

“Allowing our sporting heroes to be walking billboards for alcohol products during prime time viewing encourages children to start drinking at a younger age and at more harmful levels when they reach adulthood.

“Alcohol advertising has never been as pervasive, as inventive, and as well-resourced as it is now. There is an urgent need for effective regulation that prioritises the health of young people, and supports public health efforts to change Australia’s harmful drinking culture.”

The Commercial Television Industry Code of Practice was reviewed earlier this year and continued to allow alcohol advertising before 8.30pm during live broadcasts of sporting events.

“The Australian Government has continuously failed to end the unhealthy link between alcohol sponsorship and sport and as a result children are exposed to an ever increasing rate of alcohol advertising,” said Dr Crozier.

A recent survey conducted by the Foundation of Alcohol Research and Education (FARE) shows 60% of Australians believe alcohol sponsorship should be banned from sport and 70% believe alcohol advertising should be banned on television before 8:30pm.

Protecting children from alcohol advertising and sponsorship is one action of NAAA’s 4-point plan to prevent alcohol harm. NAAA hopes this 4-point plan speaks to politicians in the upcoming Federal Election to take action in reducing alcohol harms.

“Commercial interests have been prioritised over expert advice and community concerns, and it is time for the next Government to step in and acknowledge the failure of self-regulation and the need for legislated controls.

“A whole-of-system review that considers the effect of alcohol advertising on young people across all mediums is required, and the NAAA is calling for an immediate end to the Code of Practice loophole which allows alcohol advertising during sporting events before 8.30pm.”


To arrange an interview with Dr Crozier please contact: Amy Kimber – 0437 144 050

Please click here for the PDF of the media release

Federal Budget: Hope for the next generation

The Federal Budget released today shows the Government is taking positive steps to address the Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) rates in Australia.

Investing in FASD prevention shows the Government is committed to lowering the FASD rates to improve quality of life for the next generation. A national register would go a long way to further supporting this initiative.

“FASD is a life sentence for those born with it – there is no cure,” said National Alliance for Action on Alcohol (NAAA) co-chair and Chair of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons Trauma Committee Dr John Crozier.

“FASD devastates families and communities. It can have major impacts on children’s intellectual ability and behaviours, putting pressure on health care services,” said Dr Crozier.

“This initiative is aimed at three key aspects of FASD: clinician education, prevention and research. This support is key to prevent FASD by empowering women with the right information to make educated decisions about the risks of drinking alcohol while pregnant,” says Dr Crozier.

“The clinical network and information resources that will be made available to clinicians are an important step in improving patient outcomes and helping clinicians better understand how FASD affects their patients,” Dr Crozier said.

“Allocation of funds in tonight’s budget is an important step in the right direction, but it won’t solve the FASD problem in Australia,” said Dr Crozier.

NAAA calls on the Government to establish and fund a central register of people diagnosed with fetal alcohol, similar to the Australian Cerebral Palsy Register. Action should also include comprehensive steps to reduce harmful drinking throughout the community.

Alcohol related items in the Federal Budget will be reviewed over the coming week by NAAA.



Amy Kimber – 0437 144 050



For pdf of media release: 160503 Hope for the next generation

Stop advertising alcohol on public transport: new report calls for government action

A new report from the Alcohol Advertising Review Board (AARB) calls on state and territory governments to remove alcohol advertising from public transport.

The report, ‘No way to ignore it: The case for removing alcohol ads from public transport’, highlights the extent of alcohol advertising on public transport and transit stops in Australia, the substantial community concern around young people’s exposure to alcohol promotion on these sites, and what state/territory and local governments can do.

The report was released alongside findings from an audit of Perth bus stop ads by the McCusker Centre for Action on Alcohol and Youth. The audit found that 53% of the 584 bus stop ads identified were for alcohol, junk food and sugary drinks.

The report has been sent to all state and territory transport and health ministers, and relevant Federal Ministers, calling on them to amend advertising contracts or existing legislation to prohibit alcohol ads on buses, trains and trams, and at train stations and bus stops. In September last year, the ACT became the first – and so far the only – jurisdiction to impose a ban on alcohol advertising on public transport.

For further information:

Alcohol tax reform will save lives and money

New economic modelling makes clear the substantial monetary and health benefits of a fairer alcohol tax regime and adds further weight to calls by the National Alliance for Action on Alcohol (NAAA) for an overhaul of Australia’s broken alcohol tax system.

“Australia’s current system for taxing alcohol is incoherent and flawed from both a public health and economic perspective: it favours the production and consumption of cheap alcohol, contributes to the growing burden of alcohol-related harms, and does not recoup the costs of these harms across the Australian community,” said Dr John Crozier, Co-Chair of the NAAA and Chair of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons Trauma Committee.

The economic modelling, undertaken by ACIL Allen Consulting and commissioned by the Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education (FARE), shows that a ten percent increase to all alcohol excise, combined with changes that tax wine according the its alcohol content, would generate $2.9 billion in revenue and result in a 9.4 percent reduction in alcohol consumption.

“This modelling demonstrates that alcohol tax reform is both an economic and health imperative, with the potential to reduced alcohol-related harms, offset the economic costs that result from these harms, and contribute to Government revenue”, said Dr Crozier.

Reforming Australia’s alcohol taxation regime and replacing the WET with a volumetric tax has been supported by numerous economic and taxation experts and ten separate Government reviews.

“Urgent reform is needed to address the $36 billion in social and health costs that alcohol use causes each year,” said Mr Michael Moore, Co-Chair of NAAA and CEO of the Public Health Association of Australia (PHAA).

“As the Government grapples with the challenges of a budget deficit and shortfall in government revenue, alcohol tax reform has the potential to not only reduce the economic spill-over costs from alcohol harms, but to also generate the revenue needed to finance our health, education and service systems”, said Mr Michael Moore.

“It’s important to remember that we’re not just talking about lost tax revenue. Each year in Australia alcohol kills 5,500 Australians and hospitalises a further 157,000, exacting a substantial toll on communities and service systems. That toll could be reduced by abolishing the WET, and replacing it with a more equitable and efficient tax,” Mr Moore said.

“Alcohol taxation and pricing have been shown to be the most effective policy option for reducing alcohol-related harms, particularly among heavy drinkers and young people. Alcohol taxation reform is a major public health and social policy issue in this country and urgent action and leadership is required to improve health, restore quality of life, and save lives,” said Mr Moore.





Amy Kimber – 0437 144 050



Sophie Brown – 0421 749 608


For pdf of media release: 160308 Alcohol tax reform will save lives and money_FINAL



Australia’s alcohol advertising regulations are a “disgrace”: weakened alcohol advertising rules prompt renewed calls for reform

A watering down of alcohol advertising regulations in Australia has prompted renewed criticism of Australia’s current system for regulation alcohol advertising on television from public health groups, alcohol policy experts and leading medical colleges.

As reported by MJA Insight, last Thursday the Royal Australasian College of Physicians (RACP) and the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists (RANZCP) released a new joint Alcohol Policy, in which they called for the phasing out of all alcohol sports sponsorships and the ceasing of advertisements during live games and broadcasts until after 8.30pm. Accompanying the release of the joint policy, the RACP undertook a review of nine sports across six categories and found all were influenced by alcohol sponsorships and advertisements, either at the stadium or during television coverage.

The findings of the RACP review echo the findings of numerous reports and reviews of Australia’s alcohol advertising regulations, which have highlighted major loopholes and failure of existing regulations to protect children and young people from regular exposure to alcohol advertising, particularly in relation to televised sports broadcasts. Despite these consistent findings, alcohol advertising regulations were further watered down last year by the Federal government’s media watchdog, the Australian Communication and Media Authority (ACMA)

According to MJA Insight, ACMA’s moves have prompted renewed calls for government intervention and strengthened regulations, including calls to abolish ACMA and replace the existing industry-led regulatory system with a truly independent and robust regulator.

For more information, go to the MJA Insight article at:

“Nothing’s changed,” – 18 months on and violence in emergency departments across Australia is still too common

As the results of the largest survey of alcohol harm in Australasian emergency departments (EDs) is published today in the Medical Journal of Australia, the Australasian College for Emergency Medicine (ACEM) has indicated that the levels of alcohol-fuelled violence remain unacceptable high, imposing a substantial burden on hospital resources and staff.

The survey, which was undertaken by ACEM over 18 months ago and involved 2002 ED clinical staff, revealed the devastating toll of alcohol-related harm on emergency department clinicians and patients. In the year preceding the survey, more than 90% of ED clinicians had experienced physical aggression from a patient affected by alcohol, with 42% experiencing this aggression weekly or monthly. Verbal aggression from patients affected by alcohol was also an ever-present part of clinical life for ED staff. This violence and aggression has wide-ranging impacts, affecting the care of other patients and the wellbeing of clinicians. Clinicians reported that frequent violence and aggression had a negative effect on their wellbeing, affecting staff retention and recruitment. Such violence and aggression also had adverse impacts on other patients and the effective operation of the ED, diverting hospital resources into the management of alcohol-affected patients, and disrupting or delaying care for other patients. Effects on the welfare of and care for other patients, particularly vulnerable groups, are further exacerbated by the disruptive and antisocial behaviours of alcohol-affected people in EDs.

Since the survey was undertaken, the introduction of lockout laws and other trading restrictions have resulted in improvements in some jurisdictions. However, much more needed to be done, with ACEM expressing concern today that alcohol-related violence and aggression continues to be a pervasive feature of emergency departments.

“The legislative action taken in New South Wales and recently in Queensland is commendable and it’s important to acknowledge that progress,” said ACEM President, Associate Professor Anthony Lawler. “But too many EDs in Australia and New Zealand are still suffering from the blight of alcohol. Since this work was done 18 months ago ACEM has completed further research – including an Australia Day survey, a 7-Day survey and a snapshot survey – and the data is clear: alcohol is still having a disproportionately severe impact on our EDs.”

The release of the MJA survey follows on from the recent visit by Ms Katherine Brown from the UK, who reported on a major survey of emergency workers in the UK. This report echoes the findings of the ACEM report and the experiences of other front-line services in Australia, with up to half of police, paramedic, ED and fire services time spent dealing with alcohol-related incidents. The UK report surveyed approximately 5,000 front-line service staff and found that police spent 53% of their time dealing with alcohol-related incidents, ambulance staff 37% and emergency department personnel 25%. The responses revealed a culture of fear and systematic abuse, with three quarters of police respondents and one in two ambulance crews injured in alcohol-related incidents. Between a third and half of all emergency service personnel reported they had suffered sexual harassment or abuse at the hands of intoxicated members of the public. Reflecting on the report and the parallels with Australia, Ms Brown argued that it is crucial that alcohol is not allowed to continue diverting public resources and to threaten community safety.


For further information on the MJA article and ACEM statement on the impact of alcohol-affected patients in emergency departments in Australia and New Zealand:

For further information about the UK Report on alcohol’s impact on emergency services:

Galaxy poll: Majority support for retention of NSW trading hour measures

21 February 2016

Polling has found more than two thirds of NSW residents support the continuation of the state government’s measures to reduce alcohol-related violence.

Key findings from the survey include:

  • More than two-thirds (68%) support the continuation of the NSW Government’s measures to reduce alcohol-related violence (including a 3am last drinks and a 1.30am lockout in Sydney, and a 10pm close for bottle shops selling takeaway alcohol across the state).
  • The majority of NSW residents believe Australia has a problem with alcohol (80%), and that more needs to be done to reduce the harm caused by alcohol (79%).
  • The majority (73%) of NSW residents believe that alcohol-related problems in Australia will either remain the same or get worse over the next five to ten years.
  • The majority of NSW residents do not believe that governments (54%), alcohol companies (70%) and pubs and clubs (61%) are doing enough to address alcohol misuse.
  • NSW residents support a number of policies to reduce alcohol-related harms including introducing a closing time for pubs, clubs and bars of no later than 3am (80%), and not allowing alcohol to be sold in supermarkets (64%).
  • More than one in four NSW residents have been affected by alcohol-related violence, with one in six (15%) reporting they have been a direct victim, and one in five stating that a family or friend had been affected by alcohol-related violence.

The survey, which was commissioned by the Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education (FARE) and conducted by Galaxy Research, involved a sample of 353 NSW residents.

View the survey report