The State Government will move to ban alcohol advertising from buses, trains and trams from 2017.

The decision follows the Review of the South Australian Liquor Licensing Act which found that recent success in increasing average first-time drinking ages for teenagers could be undone by not curbing alcohol advertising.

Content standards for contracts on Adelaide Metro vehicles will be amended to prevent primary product alcohol advertising from mid-2017.

The ban will not extend to indirect advertising such as sponsorship logos on sporting uniforms or the promotion of tourism events such as food and wine festivals.

The decision is backed by independent research which shows almost three quarters of Australian adults support reducing young people’s exposure to alcohol advertising.

The Government has written to the Local Government Association encouraging it to consider extending the ban to council-owned bus shelters as well.

Background

The Review of the South Australian Liquor Licensing Act states that there has been a considerable improvement in underage drinking statistics with the average age at which young people consume their first alcoholic drink increasing from 15 to 15.7 between 2007 and 2013.

However the review notes that “it would be a pity if this momentum was lost by a failure to curb alcohol advertising”.

The ban will cover advertising on and within buses, trains and trams.

Government-owned bus shelters do not contain advertising, while advertising for council-owned bus shelters is negotiated between the council and the advertising company.

The Alcohol Advertising Review Board recommends that all alcohol advertising is banned from all public transport assets.

This is supported by the World Health Organization, the Australian Medical Association, the National Preventative Health Taskforce and other expert groups which recommend restricting alcohol advertising at times and in places of high exposure to children and young people.

Quotes attributable to Transport and Infrastructure Minister Stephen Mullighan

Unlike other advertising mediums such as television or radio, advertising on buses, trains and trams cannot be switched off and it is impossible to control who views the ads.

Young people represent a significant proportion of public transport users with many regularly using public transport to travel to school, work or recreational activities.

We think this is an important step to minimise the risks associated with underage drinking, which can have lasting health impacts, and further supports our efforts to tackle irresponsible alcohol use in our community.

We know that young people’s exposure to alcohol advertising is a contributor to the normalisation of alcohol use in our society and reinforces what is in some cases a harmful drinking culture in Australia.

The Alcohol Advertising Review Board has provided compelling evidence that exposure to alcohol advertising impacts on the drinking behaviours and attitudes of young people, influencing their beliefs and views about drinking.

The ACT banned alcohol advertising on public transport services in September 2015 and when the changes take effect in South Australia next year, we will become the first State to do so.