Public space and alcohol advertising: Exploratory study of the role of local government

Greg Swensen


Swensen, G. (2016). Public space and alcohol advertising: Exploratory study of the role of local government. The International Journal Of Alcohol And Drug Research, 5(3), 117-123. doi:

The paper argues that local government bodies in Western Australia, which have a long-standing key role in overseeing public health standards and regulating business activities, potentially have a major, but under-recognized, capability to regulate the promotion and advertising of alcohol in public places overseen by them. It is contended that because local government bodies already possess extensive statutory powers to undertake this function, there is a compelling case for them to actively regulate alcohol advertising as they “own” most of the public space in Australian cities and towns.

As the proposition would involve the prohibition of alcohol advertising, this could mean that local authorities may balk at assuming this responsibility due to a possible loss of revenue if they have already issued licenses to companies to construct and maintain key parts of the public infrastructure, like bus shelters, seating, and other street furniture, in return for being able to charge fees for advertising on these facilities.

It is contended that local government authorities would ably perform a front-line role in regulating alcohol advertising in public places because of their reliance on community-based processes of consultation and decision-making for planning, in addition to understanding this role as an extension of a long standing role concerned with the advancement of public health and traffic safety.


regulation; alcohol advertising; public places; local government

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