AMA calls for alcopop tax revenue to go toward ad buyback

Posted by Isobel Drake on 26th March 2009

The Australian Medical Association is recommending that the money raised by the failed alcopops tax should be spent on a trial buy-back to reduce alcohol advertising in sport.

AMA President, Dr Rosanna Capolingua, said handing the money, $340 million in total, back to the liquor industry made no sense.

“This money should be put to good use. It could fund a carefully evaluated trial where government buys back advertising space that would otherwise be used by alcohol marketers during sporting events – particularly at times when children are watching,” she said.

The idea of a buyback is not without precedent, Dr Capolingua noted.

“A government buy-back was part of the strategy that banned cigarette advertising in sport,” she advised. “This had an impact on changing the culture around tobacco. Let’s do the same for alcohol.”

The issue of alcohol advertising during daytime sport broadcasts was brought to a head last week when Family FIrst Senator Steve Fielding decided to vote against the ‘alcopops’ tax because the government failed to support his plan to ban such advertising.

The Australian Tax Office has said that they will continue to collect the tax until mid-May when the money raised will be returned to distillers – who have indicated they will offer the funds to support health programs aimed at reducing alcohol abuse.