Sharp decrease in ABAC complaints


There has been a sharp decrease in ABAC complaints in the first quarter of 2022, with around half the complaints and a quarter of the determinations of the previous period.

Only 27 complaints were made in the last three months compared to 55 last quarter. This is the lowest number of complaints and determinations during a quarter since 2019.

Of those complaints only 11 were considered by the ABAC panel as they were inside the Code’s scope.

Pre-vetting has continued to remain high with 782 requests in the quarter, as alcohol producers and retailers use the service, which has been updated this year. 124 of those were rejected by the pre-vetting panel.

On the pre-vetting team, Martin Salkild is moving on after 11 years as a pre-vetter, and is being replaced by Sally Walsh who has experience in advertising account management and teaches marketing at UTS Business School.

Work is ongoing in the pre-vetting division to upgrade its lodgement system, which it says will bring efficiencies for alcohol marketers wanting to use the service. A full transition to the new system is almost complete.

Age controls remained an issue in ABAC’s latest report, which was highlighted in a survey by the Cancer Council in 2021, which highlighted that a number of social media accounts from major alcohol manufacturers did not have age restriction mechanisms.

In some of the most recent adjudications, the question of no-alcohol beer and brand extensions and how they should be considered under the Code. Other judgements this quarter have also covered the question of whether alcohol advertising could appeal to minors, which is banned under ABAC.

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