The ACT’s decision to ban ads on local buses – as reported by B&T yesterday – promoting junk foods, alcohol, gambling, fossil fuels and defence has been decried as an over reaction by industry groups.
Somewhat ironically it has been revealed the bus fleet is actually powered by fossil fuels and reportedly rake in $550,000 in ad dollars annually for the public coffers.
The Australian is today reporting that a number of group industry bodies have lambasted the decision with one saying that the “nanny state had reached absurd proportions”.
The Australian Mines and Metals Association’s Scott Barklamb said the banning of fossil fuel advertising was “totally inappropriate”.
He said: “It’s absolutely extraordinary that the ACT makes this announcement when 99.9 per cent of Australia’s population couldn’t get to Civic without fossil fuels. Fossil fuel use has built Australia and is being subject worldwide to technological advances and changes in usage which are reducing the impact on the environment more than ever before.”
An Australian Food and Grocery Council spokesperson added: “The ACT government will have to be accountable to ratepayers who will have to make up for the loss of revenue, forgone by the banning of advertising a perfectly legal product. ACT buses are already under significant financial pressure and it’s unclear if this diversion through gesture politics will ease that pressure.”
Brewers Association chief executive Denita Wawn called the alcohol ban a “paternalistic” approach that was at odds with local tourism efforts to promote Canberra as a food, wine and craft beer region.
“Research into alcohol advertising shows it has negligible impact on alcohol misuse. Really it is parental behaviour, education and peer pressure that encourages misuse,” Wawn said.
However, Public Health Association of Australia CEO Michael Moore insisted the bans were appropriate saying the restrictions “still allow people to make their own choices, but without being bombarded by this marketing”.
“When we talk about marketing commodities that in the long term cause harm to people, it’s appropriate to restrict that marketing,” he said. The Australian added that Moore’s next target would be alcohol advertising in sport.