AUSTRALIA'S alcohol industry cannot be trusted to self-regulate and its marketing practices need to be the focus of a federal parliamentary inquiry, the nation's peak medical organisation says.
The Australian Medical Association called for the inquiry amid fears alcohol marketing was being used to lure young people into "potentially harmful drinking patterns".
AMA president Steve Hambleton said an inquiry was needed to develop more stringent and enforceable regulations.
"Alcohol marketing is a pervasive and dangerous presence in the lives of our young people," Dr Hambleton said.
"Young people are starting to drink at an earlier age, and most drink in ways that put their health at risk.
"But the current voluntary industry-administered approach to marketing regulation has failed to stem the growth and impact of alcohol marketing in Australia."
Dr Hambleton's call was backed by eminent British public health advocate, Professor Sir Ian Gilmore, who has been at the forefront of efforts to reform alcohol policy in the United Kingdom.
Sir Ian, who was a guest speaker at an alcohol policy forum hosted by the AMA at Parliament House in Canberra on Monday, said the UK and Australia faced similar health problems caused by drinking, particularly among young people.