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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 05 Hansard (Thursday, 13 May 2021) . . Page.. 1459 ..

beginning of operations, there has been advertising both at light rail stations and on the light vehicles themselves on the inside of the vehicles. Yes, I have made a decision to allow advertising on light rail vehicles as a wrap, and that is consistent with the approach on buses at the moment. As I have reported to the Assembly this week, we have had a shortfall in revenue of $9.3 million as a result of the effect of COVID-19 on public transport. So this is one way that provides an extra revenue source that we can use to help improve public transport services going forward, as we have done with revenue from advertising on our buses and on our road networking at bus stops as well.

The difference and the distinction made between the approach that we take in relation to advertising and then in other areas with the ban on advertising on buildings is that this is for a public good. The revenue that is used from this advertising goes into supporting better public transport. That is the approach that the government has taken to support better public transport first and foremost.

MR MILLIGAN: Minister, what consultation has the government done with the community to gather whether or not they support advertising on light rail?

MR STEEL: I thank the member for his question. As he knows, there has been a recent inquiry into advertising. I note that when Tim Hollo posted about his concerns about light rail advertising on Twitter just the other week the response to that tweet was actually quite supportive of the advertising being provided on public transport, because people know that the revenue is going to support better public transport operations—a public good.

There has been an inquiry, people have put their views and there has been no suggestion that we should remove advertising from public transport overall. In fact, there has been quite a lot of support for that, and that is why the decision has been made. There is also the context of many groups coming forward and asking the ACT government to enable us to provide advertising on light rail. Many not-for-profit charity groups, DonateLife included, wanted to do advertising on our light rail vehicles as well to promote the good work that they do. In that context we are allowing them to come forward, as well as making sure that we continue to provide light rail safety wraps on our light rail vehicles, with at least two vehicles being available to continue that good work which of course was designed by our local students from Gungahlin College, and also to promote important public messaging on COVID-19 and the latest wrap with the Check in CBR App, which I think helped to get the message out making sure that people are COVID safe. That is the context in which the government has made the decision, and we are doing so based on public good and supporting better public transport operations in the territory.

MR PARTON: Minister, can you give some more examples of the type of advertising that will be allowed on light rail and is it—if not in breach of the government’s regulations—in breach of the community concerns against public space advertising to proceed?

MR STEEL: It is in accordance with the guidelines that already operate for buses.

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