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Medical Health Aged Care

RACGP backs crossbench calls on harmful product marketing

Royal Australian College of GPs 3 mins read

The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) has today backed crossbench calls urging the Albanese Government to crackdown on the marketing of harmful products.

It comes following crossbench MPs urging the Government to legislate stronger regulation on the marketing of gambling, junk food, alcohol, and fossil fuels. The RACGP has previously called for the Government to stand up to Big Alcohol by treating booze like cigarettes and introduce more clearly documented restrictions on tobacco lobbying to encompass all nicotine containing products.

RACGP President Dr Nicole Higgins backed the crossbench calls.

“The health of Australians must come first,” she said.

“No one, including our children, can turn on a TV or scroll a social media feed without being inundated with advertisements for sports gambling, booze, junk food, and more. It’s pervasive and high time that these companies were reigned in. GPs and other healthcare workers are the ones on the other side helping patients suffering from the effects of these products including tobacco-relates illness and obesity just to name a few.

“We are doing the best we can, but GPs are doing so with one hand tied behind our back given what we are up against. GPs need a helping hand from the Government to restrict the deluge of ads fuelling unhealthy and destructive behaviours that impact long-term health and wellbeing and hurt communities nation-wide

“One in four children are overweight or obese and well on their way to chronic conditions. These companies are tailoring their marketing to target children on TV and social media so whilst they reap massive profits our health system bears the brunt of managing the consequences. I also share the independent member for Warringah Zali Stegall’s concerns regarding ‘greenwashing’. Fossil fuel companies are learning from the Big Tobacco and Big Alcohol handbook to boost their reputation through advertising and sponsoring. At the end of the day, they are seeking a social licence that they don’t deserve.”

Dr Higgins said there was ample precedent to draw on.

“The Government only needs to look around the world to see that other countries are acting,” she said.

“As the independent member for Mackellar and GP Dr Sophie Scamps said today - 40 other countries around the world already have or are planning to implement regulations to protect children from pervasive junk food marketing. So, we know what to do, we just need the political will to make it happen. I appreciate this will not be easy for the Government, these are powerful and ruthless industries who will launch anti-government campaigns if met with any sort of marketing clampdown. However, I urge the Government to act in the best interests of public health and act decisively to put communities first.

“Australia has a strong history on this front too. As independent member for North Sydney Kylea Tink notes, in the 1990’s Australia led the way in cracking down on tobacco advertising and sales. Young people today may be surprised to learn that popular sports like rugby league were plastered with Big Tobacco advertising, but at the time it was par for the course.

“Now it’s time to step up and target a host of other harmful products that have somehow flown under the radar and escaped a similar level of tough regulation. We have stamped out tobacco marketing, so how can we justify ads in prime-time TV slots, including sports games, promoting alcohol and gambling? In the year 2023, it just makes no sense, and it’s time for action.”

~ENDS

RACGP spokespeople are available for comment.


About us:

About the RACGP

The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) was established in 1958 and is Australia’s peak general practice representative organisation.

The RACGP has more than 45,000 members working in or towards a career in general practice across metropolitan, regional and rural areas of the country. Nine in every 10 GPs are with the RACGP.

Visit www.racgp.org.au. To unsubscribe from RACGP media releases, click here.


Contact details:

John Ronan
Media Adviser

Ally Francis
Media Adviser

Stuart Winthrope
Media Officer

 

Email: media@racgp.org.au / 03 8699 0992

Follow us on Twitter: @RACGP and Facebook.

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