Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 02 Hansard (Thursday, 22 February 2018) . . Page.. 627 ..
Management and Minister for Urban Renewal) (3.55): For the information of members, I present the following paper:
Planning and Urban Renewal—Standing Committee—Report 2—Inquiry into Billboards—Government response.
That the Assembly take note of the paper.
I am pleased to table the government response to the Standing Committee on Planning and Urban Renewal report No 2 on the inquiry into billboards. The key recommendation of the standing committee’s report is that the government review the relevant legislation, regulations and government policies relating to outdoor advertising signage in the ACT. An interdirectorate working group will be established in the coming months to commence this review and determine an appropriate approach for regulatory reform for outdoor advertising signage.
MS LE COUTEUR (Murrumbidgee) (3.56): I am very pleased to hear there will eventually be a review of the billboard legislation. When we do this, it is really important that we seriously take on board the views of the ACT community, because they have made them fairly clear. Recently some work was done with a market research group, and they found that nine out of 10 people wanted to keep Canberra billboard free and eight of out 10 thought that Canberra was a much better place because it does not have billboards.
As the minister mentioned, he was responding to a report of the planning committee. In our inquiry we had 166 submissions and only six of them supported more billboards. There was also a petition where 780 people all opposed billboards in the ACT.
I suggest that the government should first off enforce the current laws on billboards. Many billboards in the ACT appear to be larger than should be approved or probably were not approved in the first place. Secondly, as the minister alluded to, the government should review the current Territory Plan, with the aim of implementing the will of the community—to reduce the possible size of billboards and close the loopholes.
Thirdly, something the government could do very quickly is stop having full wrap covers over buses. Those who do not catch buses may not be aware of how much of a problem it is. On some of those buses—like the one which I will admit is very pretty, the rainbow coloured one—the wrap goes right over the windows. Particularly at night—and in the winter we are all going home at night—you cannot see out of the windows very well and it is really easy to not get off at the right stop, which is a pain, to put it mildly. I speak, unfortunately, from experience. It is also a safety issue: I know bus drivers have reported that if they are driving a full wrap bus they cannot see out of the windows, so it is very hard for them to see if there is someone racing to the bus or if someone has tripped or had an issue on the way off the bus. I am glad to