The government of NSW has recently released its new guidelines on alcohol promotion, prompting the opposition and Greens to declare the alcohol lobby the winner, much to their dismay.
The new guidelines ban the use of merchandise, interactive games or technology that is aimed at minors. The guidelines also include fines of $5500 for licensees who encourage excessive drinking by using free drinks promotions and heavily discounted or all-you-can drink offers or promotions that encourage irresponsible drinking.
The planned ban on advertising promotions in areas where minors frequent or celebrities advertising alcohol to young people and sex being used to sell alcohol has been dropped. The government has also dropped a ban on promotions offering discounts on alcohol of more than 50 per cent that was part of the draft of the guidelines put together last year in August.
The opposition said that the dropping of many proposed bans was as a result of lobbying from the alcohol industry. The opposition described it as a “drastic watering down of what was supposed to be a crackdown on irresponsible promotion of liquor”.
The Greens were not happy about the dropping of many of the planned bans included in the draft saying that the Australian Hotels Association was given privileged access by the state government to rewrite the draft for the updated version of the liquor promotion guidelines released on Thursday.
The following excerpt from an article on News.com.au explains further:
Acting Hospitality Minister Andrew Stoner said the guidelines would address the dramatic rise in the sale and promotion of alcohol online since the last guidelines were introduced in 2009.
“The new guidelines not only address the promotion of alcohol through supermarket vouchers and shopper dockets, but also the specific use of social media and interactive technology to promote alcohol consumption,” Mr Stoner said.
According to the deputy opposition leader, Linda Burney the government was attempting to appease the alcohol industry especially big retailers like Coles and Woolworths with its watered down version of the guidelines.
Coles have defended its actions, saying that it merely contributed to the debate as was appropriate.
The post goes on to explain:
“This set of guidelines has been watered down the point where it’s actually a sop to the alcohol industry,” Ms Burney told reporters.
Greens MP John Kaye said the AHA had been given “privileged access” to rewrite the draft guidelines.
Mr Kaye referenced a letter from the AHA to the Office of Liquor, Gaming and Racing which specifically asked for the removal of the ban on using celebrities and other youth role models from promoting alcohol.
Coles has previously said it had simply made representations regarding the guidelines as was appropriate in any robust debate on regulatory issues.