Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2022 Week 05 Hansard (Thursday, 2 June 2022) . . Page.. 1545 ..
and I think that is why a lot of people have simply said, “Why don’t we have no ads on public property? That would be an easier way to solve that problem.”
I was also really, really interested to read the government response. We do get income revenue from this advertising. It is actually a tiny percentage; it is 0.6 per cent of our public transport budget. It is so small that it is almost irrelevant. I do not say that lightly. I used to run businesses and blogs, and I used to run an e-commerce company, and getting ad revenue is actually a really, really common way to run a lot of businesses and operations. But what you quickly find is that you are trading your professional reputation, you are trading your credibility, for less than one per cent of your revenue or of your turnover, and it usually is not worth that kind of deal.
We also know that public transport is really important. We are doing a lot to encourage greater uptake and we know that a lot of people do not like this kind of advertising. I think there is a real tension here in doing something that people do not like, doing something that is encouraging behaviour that the government does not want to encourage and doing that in order to take a really, really small amount of revenue.
On the other hand, we know that for every dollar we invest in the arts we get a much, much greater return. We get a return to our economy. It is a really, really high return. And we get something that people love, that makes them feel happy and that actually does not play on their fears and their anxieties and does not encourage them to go out and buy things they do not need or to engage in practices that really, frankly, are not very helpful. I am looking forward to continuing this conversation about public advertising. I am really, really pleased to have seen the petition and to have seen the government response.
MR STEEL (Murrumbidgee—Minister for Skills, Minister for Transport and City Services and Special Minister of State) (10.10): I am pleased to table the government’s response to the petition on outdoor and public transport advertising in Canberra and to make a few observations about the government’s current approach. In Australia our advertising standards, including those related to outdoor advertising, are governed by a system of industry self-regulation. This is administered by the Australian Association of National Advertisers and underpinned by a set of voluntary codes that includes the AANA code of ethics.
The ACT government, through its various regulatory bodies, is responsible for administering relevant sign guidelines and codes of practice within the ACT. Transport Canberra and City Services regulates removable signage under the Public Unleased Land Act. The act also establishes the code of practice, which outlines conditions for sign placement, sign construction, safety content and the number of signs, as well as display time periods and insurance requirements. The government’s response provides an amount of detail about what the code allows and how this intercepts with other regulations like the Territory Plan to regulate the design content and positioning of signs in the ACT. I will not go into that in too much detail.
In relation to advertising on public transport, there is a very long established and accepted practice in the territory to have public transport advertising, just as there is in