The Healthy Kids Advertising Bill 2023 (the Bill) aims to protect children from junk food marketing by removing ads from TV and radio between the hours of 6am and 930pm. The Bill would also place an outright ban on junk food marketing on social media and other online environments. Under the regulations, substantial fines would be imposed on broadcasters, internet service providers, and food companies that fail to adhere to the guidelines.
Dr Scamps, a former GP and emergency room doctor, was compelled to act due to the increasing prevalence of childhood obesity and chronic disease, with obesity estimated to cost the health system $11.8 billion every year. Mackellar parents have also raised concerns about the predatory targeting of their children by junk food companies.
The Bill, which is seconded by Independent MP and former paediatrician Dr Monique Ryan, also has the support of the Australian Medical Association (AMA), Dietitians Australia, Diabetes Australia, the Cancer Council, the Food for Health Alliance, the Public Health Association of Australia, The Royal Australasian College of Physicians and The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners.
Research conducted by the Australia Institute earlier in late 2022 shows strong public support for regulating unhealthy food marketing, with two-thirds (66%) backing a ban on junk food advertising.
Approximately 40 countries around the world, including the UK, Ireland, Chile, Norway, Mexico, Thailand, and South Korea, already have or are planning to regulate junk food advertising.