Outdoor junk food ads blacklisted in Mandurah LGA

WA’s City of Mandurah council has ratified a policy prohibiting junk-food advertising on city-managed lands and road reserves under the control of the Main Roads Department.

The decision is believed to one of the first of its kind in Australian local government, and was taken at the city’s February council meeting,

Under the policy, any advertisement or advertising “that depicts images of unhealthy food, that promotes smoking or tobacco products, or that depicts images that promote alcohol or the consumption of alcohol products” will be banned.

In successfully proposing the ban to elected members, council officers stated that three out of four adults in Mandurah are obese or overweight and that Australian adults are getting more than a third of their daily energy intake from junk food.

They said several options in relation to unhealthy or junk food and alcohol advertising had been considered in the past but that unlike smoking or tobacco advertising, regulation had not been established to prohibit the advertising of junk food or alcohol in Australia.

Prohibiting images of unhealthy food or images that promote alcohol or the consumption of alcohol products on bench seats and illuminated signs would provide for a healthier community, they said.

In deciding whether an advertisement specifically showcases an unhealthy food, Mandurah officers will refer to the Australian Dietary Guidelines, WA Healthy Options Policy, and the Live Lighter public education program before making a determination.

The assessment process will consider permitting an image of the product if a local business can demonstrate it is a true representation of the product they sell and provides nutritional information, and that the image is linked to a health message.

Guided by its Public Health and Wellbeing Plan, Mandurah “provides a broad range of programs that support and promote the health of [its] community”.