Wembley Downs: anger over alchohol ads on school route buses

A bus with alcohol advertising used on a school route has angered Wembley Downs parents.
A bus with alcohol advertising used on a school route has angered Wembley Downs parents.

WEMBLEY DOWNS parents are concerned about alcohol advertising on school buses that ran for nearly two weeks.

Churchlands mother Samantha Menezes saw the whiskey advertisements on the week of April 5 at the Wembley Downs primary and secondary school her children attended.

“I don’t think it’s right, I really do believe Transperth has a social obligation to ensure kids don’t get on school bus runs that have got alcohol advertising on them,” she said.

“Constant advertising of the same product is going to sink in to kids, it helps normalise the behaviour and the branding.”

“We don’t want to get involved with the alcohol industry because they will simply say the advertisement is not designed to target young people.

“It’s on a school bus – it is targeting young people.” Public Transport Authority spokesman David Hynes said the ‘school special’ buses were not used exclusively for schools and used on other networks around the city.

“It is not operationally practical to quarantine buses with alcohol advertisements to non-school services,” he said.

“Doing so would actually inconvenience students, by reducing the ‘pool’ of vehicles available to run school specials.”

Mr Hynes said all PTA advertising generated $7 million a year, which was used by the State Government to fund additional transport services.

“About 10 per cent of this revenue comes from alcohol-related advertising,” he said.

“The Advertising Standards Bureau (ASB) is the authority on advertising standards in Australia, and all advertising on the Transperth system must comply with ASB rigorous standards.”

A review of Perth bus stop advertisements by the McCusker Centre for Action on Alcohol and Youth in December last year found one in seven of the advertisements.

The review said children and young people represented a substantial proportion of public transport users, with about half of WA secondary school students using public transport to travel to and from school at least once a week.

McCusker Centre executive officer Julia Stafford said the Wembley Downs incident was not an isolated one. “It’s difficult to think of a more inappropriate place to advertise alcohol than on a school bus,” she said.

“Research shows exposure to alcohol advertising makes it more likely that young people will start to drink alcohol, or will drink more if already using alcohol.

“Proper controls on alcohol advertising are urgently needed to protect young people – removing alcohol ads from school buses is an obvious place to start.”

Ms Stafford said she encouraged people to contact the Alcohol Advertising Review Board if they saw an inappropriate advertisement in the community.