Media Release: Shane Rattenbury MLA, 28 September 2015

Minister for Territory and Municipal Services, Shane Rattenbury, today announced changes to the ACTION buses advertising policy to restrict the promotion of junk food, alcohol, gambling, fossil fuels and weapons.

“The current ACTION advertising policy restricts the type of material that can be promoted, including political or religious advertising, tobacco products and anti-social or offensive messages,” said Mr Rattenbury.

“As a Government provided service, it is our responsibility to ensure that the products and messages that we promote on our public buses are suitable and appropriate for the broader population and in line with the values of the Canberra community and Government objectives.

“I have taken the decision to expand this policy to include other products or industries that are either damaging to the health of the population or environment or that promote weapons.

“ACTION buses travel right across our city and most people travelling about Canberra will encounter a bus most days of the week. Advertising on our buses is clearly a good way to reach a large cross-section of the community.

“In particular, a significant number of ACTION passengers who are school-aged children.  I think it is really important that we don’t have alcohol, junk food and gambling advertised on our buses.

“In 2013, as part of the Zero Growth campaign, the ACT Government committed to restricting the advertising of unhealthy foods within the government’s regulatory control.  This announcement follows a number of other initiatives from the ACT Government to improve the health of Canberrans and work towards our Zero Growth target.

“Given that the ACT Government recently made a decision to divest from fossil fuels due to the impact they have on the environment, it is only appropriate that we don’t promote investment in fossil fuels on our publicly owned buses.

“We have also recently seen the launch of a community campaign to remove weapons advertising at the Canberra Airport, as this advertising does not represent the Canberra community nor does it reflect the image we want visitors to Canberra to see. I think the same should be said for our ACTION buses as a reflection of our Canberra community.

While the Federal Government retains regulatory control of substantial advertising policy, it is important that the ACT Government does what it can to ensure that the advertising on our public assets is suitable and appropriate and in line with the values of the Canberra community.

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