The rise and fall of the Queensland Government policy to restrict unhealthy food and alcohol advertising on publicly owned assets

Kathryn Backholer, Oliver Huse, Ruby Brooks, Florentine Martino, Alexandra Chung, Christina Zorbas, Christine Driessen, Ainslie Sartori, Jennifer Browne

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


Objective: To examine the strategies employed by opponents of the Queensland Government's policy to restrict unhealthy food and alcohol advertising on publicly owned assets and identify which of the opposing arguments appeared to influence the policy outcomes. Methods: Retrospective qualitative policy analysis case study informed by the Policy Dystopia Model of corporate political activity. We used qualitative content analysis to examine data from stakeholder submissions to the ‘Advertising content on Queensland Government advertising spaces’ policies (v1 and 2), and Minister for Health's diaries. Results: Stakeholders from the food, beverage, alcohol and advertising industries and several not-for-profit health organisations opposed the policy. Industry actors used discursive strategies, coalition management (including co-option of not-for-profit health organisations), information management and direct involvement with policy makers to communicate their arguments against the policy. The second version of the policy was weaker regarding scope and key policy provisions, reflecting the arguments of industry actors. Conclusions: Influence from industries with a clear conflict of interest should be minimised throughout policy development to ensure public health is prioritised over corporate gain. Implications for public health: Our findings can support other jurisdictions to prepare for industry opposition when designing policies to restrict unhealthy food and alcohol marketing.

Original languageEnglish
Article number100148
Number of pages7
JournalAustralian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2024


  • alcohol
  • commercial determinants of health
  • food policy
  • marketing
  • public health
  • unhealthy food

Cite this