Commonwealth Games Minister Kate Jones has been roundly criticised for her endorsement and involvement in the launch of a series of commemorative beer cans to mark the up-coming Commonwealth Games.

Public health experts say the Government’s role is to regulate the supply of alcohol and not to market it, and have filed a Right of Information request to discover how exactly Lion secured the support of the Minister’s office, and the extent of its influence in shaping that ‘partnership’.

Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education (FARE) Chief Executive, Michael Thorn says the promotion itself, attempting, as it does, to associate XXXX beer with the Commonwealth Games, is deserving of condemnation.

“It is yet another example of the alcohol industry and Lion’s relentless targeting and pursuit of the millions of young Australians that enjoy sport, and that will follow the Commonwealth Games with great interest,” Mr Thorn said.

“Frankly, it’s disgraceful that the Minister for the Commonwealth Games, Kate Jones has taken on the role of XXXX Head of Marketing and is out there flogging beer ahead of what is being positioned and marketed as the family friendly Games. She’s done everything but dress up in a giant XXXX can.”

Those concerns about the minister’s support and involvement extend to the language and framing of the Queensland Government’s media statement released on 14 February.

In response, FARE has today, lodged a Right of Information request with the Department of Innovation, Tourism Industry Development and the Commonwealth Games to determine exactly how Lion shaped and dictated the Government’s support and exactly how and why the Minister’s office so willingly acquiesced.

“Kate Jones released her media statement on 14 February so perhaps that’s why it reads like a love letter to XXXX Gold. In truth it would appear that Lion have in fact had a very heavy hand in drafting the statement and shaping the partnership; a level of influence and involvement that is entirely inappropriate,” Mr Thorn said.

Mr Thorn says that at a time when Queensland kids are already being exposed to harmful alcohol advertising and promotion in sport, Lion’s attempt to market beer as a precious Commonwealth Games souvenir is reckless and entirely self-serving.

“We know what happens when the alcohol industry exposes children to alcohol advertising. It increases the likelihood that they will commence drinking earlier and drink more. It’s for that reason that alcohol advertising and promotion has no place in sports marketed to and enjoyed by children and as such the XXXX commemorative beer cans are entirely inappropriate,” Mr Thorn said.

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