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Govt rules out plan to ban junk food ads

Date

Peter Jean

File photograph ... Chief Minister Katy Gallagher has ruled out a ban on junk food advertising during children's television viewing hours.

File photograph ... Chief Minister Katy Gallagher has ruled out a ban on junk food advertising during children's television viewing hours. Photo: Michel O'Sullivan

Chief Minister Katy Gallagher has ruled out adopting a Greens plan for a ban on junk food advertising during children's television viewing hours in the ACT.

But Ms Gallagher said she was hopeful the federal government would agree to introduce national restrictions on junk food ads.

During the territory election campaign, the Greens promised to ''legislate to protect children from targeted junk food advertising through avenues such as prime time television, in cinemas, and on bus shelters.''

But the parliamentary power-sharing agreement between Labor and the Greens only refers to a commitment to ''work with other jurisdictions'' to implement a ban during children's television viewing hours.

Ms Gallagher said agreement from the Commonwealth would be required for a ban to go ahead.

''There are a range of health issues where it makes sense to work with other jurisdictions - and in particular the federal government - to develop a national approach to health policy matters,'' she said.

''The ACT government has consistently taken the position that it is not within the capacity of the ACT administration to legislate in this area and therefore advocacy to the Commonwealth government and agreement from them is required before any ban could be put in place.''

Ms Gallagher said that in accordance with the Labor-Greens agreement, she would purse the advertising issue, as well as other policies such as ''making water the drink of choice'' and promoting ''active living'' across all areas of government.

Television is regulated by the Commonwealth but some legal experts believed that the states could introduce restrictions on junk food advertising, provided that they were not inconsistent with federal laws.

The jurisdiction of the territories was not as clear, although the Obesity Policy Coalition believed the ACT may have the power to act.

The ACT's Self-Government Act prohibits the Legislative Assembly from legislating for, ''the classification of materials for the purposes of censorship.''

Voluntary industry codes impose some restrictions on junk food advertising during children's viewing hours.

Joanna Henryks, an assistant professor of advertising and marketing communication at the University of Canberra, said advertising restrictions could be one useful tool in the battle against childhood obesity.

''In and of itself it won't change things, but greater regulation is potentially part of the solution, by stopping pester power,'' she said.

Professor Elizabeth Handsley, president of the Australian Council on Children and the Media, said regulation of online food marketing aimed at children should also be examined.

''It's now moved way further onto other platforms. There's things like sports sponsorship that needs to be looked at, there's things like adver-gaming on the internet where food companies put a nice little game on the internet where kids get immersed in an advertising message for hours on end or as long as they play a game. All of those things needs to be looked at,'' Professor Handsley said.

6 comments

  • I think people are very narrow minded about this also. Irrespective of the ad content, why are ads shown at all? To provide us with the ability to have free to air television in the first place. If the ads are gone - so the FTA TV access will also. and not everyone has money to buy Foxtel. So restricting the ads perhaps - curtailing them a bit is fine, but banning is wrong - and regardless of what the ad is pushing (immoral/unethical/illegal) nothing violating in them - if kids rush out and buy junk food (with own or more probably, parents money) then the parents have failed the kids not the ad makers. They are advertising to get their product out - as do many businesses. If a print shop buys airtime to sell cute stickers to kids - vs the local fish & chip shop doing the same, (kid sized burgers???) why prosecute the local fish & chip shop? Of course we know that the 'local' won't do that, but I think the content is irrelevant in this outcry - which has further repercussions to the bigger picture.
    Please wake up and think people, and stop with this stupid (GREENS... LOL) kneejerk reactions

    Commenter
    RaTTyRaTT
    Location
    ACT
    Date and time
    November 13, 2012, 9:57AM
    • Have parents these days forgotten the word "no"?

      Commenter
      CBR
      Date and time
      November 13, 2012, 11:18AM
      • Yes.

        Commenter
        Robert
        Location
        Canberra
        Date and time
        November 13, 2012, 12:46PM
    • How about we just ban TV instead? Junk food isn't the worst thing in the world if there's a bit of exercise to go along with it.

      Commenter
      Priapist
      Location
      Canberra
      Date and time
      November 13, 2012, 12:48PM
      • I agree with previous two comments that parents should use the word `no' but why make it harder for us? Why even introduce children to things that many of them don't know about? Many parents do not go to fast food outlets with their children nor do we buy them processed junk food. By allowing these companies to enter our homes we are introducing our children to their products.

        Turning the TV off and letting our children watch ad-free videos is my solution. In this way I control the content. But RaTTyRaTT this is bad for free-to-air stations. So perhaps free-to-air stations need to think more carefully about the products they advertise. Many of us really do care a lot more about our children's long term health than about the fiscal health of the free-to-air TV stations.

        Commenter
        indiranda
        Date and time
        November 13, 2012, 1:18PM
        • The Greens need to read the Constitution. Telecommunications, which includes TV advertising, is a Federal matter.

          Commenter
          Meanwhile
          Location
          in the real world
          Date and time
          November 13, 2012, 3:52PM
          Comments are now closed
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