Page 1546 - Week 05 - Thursday, 2 June 2022
other cities around the world. Transport Canberra has arrangements for advertising on buses, light rail vehicles and selected light rail stops. These are managed by third-party agencies and they follow those AANA standards and the ACT government’s advertising guidelines. The advertising on public transport must not represent, portray or promote a range of different things, such as gambling, alcohol, fossil fuels and a range of other things that are outlined in those guidelines. It is a very long list, and it shows the lengths we go to in order to ensure that advertising on public transport is in line with the community’s standards and expectations.
We do acknowledge concerns about some of the current advertisements which may comply with the letter of ACT government and Australian advertising standards but which nevertheless are out of step with community values. We will explore opportunities to clarify these standards as they relate to payday lending institutions in particular. This will include no longer accepting advertisements for this industry on public transport beyond the end of any current contracts and exploring opportunities to achieve an equivalent outcome through advertising sites on bus stops managed by the private contractor, Adshel.
We acknowledge that concerns have also been raised about the visibility of passengers when bus and light rail windows are wrapped with permeable advertising material, and we will explore the implications of that, as put by the petitioners. In relation to advertising displayed on public bus and light rail shelters, there is a current contract in place and we will review that once that contract comes to its end.
The ACT community concerns about advertising in public spaces are valid, but I am concerned about the call for the removal of all advertising from all public transport. I want to make it really clear that Labor does not support cutting public transport. The revenue raised through public transport advertising is reinvested in services and infrastructure across our public transport network. I think that Canberrans understand the very clear distinction between public transport advertising and private advertising. The money from public transport advertising goes back into a public good: better public transport. The revenue from public transport advertising is roughly equivalent to running the flexible bus service, which is a service that we want to enhance, not cut.
We want to keep on making public transport even better so that more Canberrans choose to use it. We want to invest in electric buses. We want to continue to explore opportunities to enhance our flexible bus service to an on-demand model. There are no free lunches here. Removing public advertising from public transport would mean removing the revenue available to invest in public transport, and I strongly believe that cutting public transport is out of touch. I do not think it is what the majority of Canberrans want to see, and it is not what I intend to do as the public transport minister.
In relation to the petitioners’ request for increased representation for locally commissioned artworks in public spaces, of course we are doing this. We have had the Surface Festival, which was absolutely fantastic, and we will look at what opportunities there are to provide more public art in locations around Canberra, including on our buses. We have got some fantastic Aboriginal artworks already displayed on our buses. We recognise that outdoor advertising needs to be balanced