Tuesday, June 24, 2008

When Will It Be Time To Take Action On Alcohol?

The Australian Drug Foundation (ADF) expressed disappointment that the Report from the Inquiry into the Alcohol Toll Reduction Bill from the Senate Community Affairs Committee (SCAC) recommended the Bill not be passed.

"The Committee expressed particular concern about the loophole that allows alcohol to be advertised on daytime TV via sponsorship of sport, and results in children being exposed to mass alcohol promotions. Yet it fails to recommend the loophole be closed. It is a missed opportunity" said Mr Rogerson, 'this must be a priority for the National Binge Drinking Strategy'. 'It is imperative the Ministerial Council on Drug Strategy moves quickly on this, as well as the other key agendas identified - supporting responsible service of alcohol, addressing secondary supply of alcohol to minors, reducing the alcohol content in products and the need for health warnings.'

The ADF agrees with the Committee's view that labels of alcohol products need to provide nutritional information so consumers can make an informed choice. However the ADF is disappointed the Committee didn't take the next step in recommending health warnings on alcohol products.

"Alcohol kills 3400 Australians every year and a warning on the label would remind drinkers when they buy and consume the product that they need to exercise care"

The ADF agrees that the labelling and packaging of alcohol products needs to be included within the alcohol advertising code. "The alcohol industry promised to do that but it has failed to keep its promise. Too many labels and packages are designed to appeal to young people and promote unsafe drinking" said Mr Rogerson.

'What we'd really like to see now is the bull taken by the horns and these anomalies addressed sooner rather than later'

The ADF commended Family First's Senator Steven Fielding for his efforts in introducing the Bill and further highlighting alcohol misuse as a national problem, and thanked Senator Rachel Siewert for her dissenting report.

Australian Drug Foundation

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