Australian Council on Children and the Media

Billboard Issues

The issue

Billboards and other outdoor advertising are always in the public eye, and can’t be avoided. Sometimes the content is unsuitable (sexualised or scary images) for children, who are in spaces where they have every right to be.

What’s happened so far

Over the years, many complaints about the content of billboards have been lodged with the Advertising Standards Board (ASB), but few have been successful in having such billboards being taken down. In 2011, the then Minister for Home Affairs Brendan O’Connor initiated an Inquiry into billboard and outdoor advertising.

On Monday 4 July 2011, the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Social Policy and Legal Affairs tabled the report of its inquiry entitled Reclaiming Public Space.  This report recommended that the industry be given until June 30, 2013 to prove that it was capable of monitoring billboards before the federal government was forced to intervene.

The government tabled its response to this report in August 2012.

What needs to happen

Having been given this warning by the Parliamentary Committee, it is important that the performance of the industry is monitored closely.  It’s doubtful that any government agency will be doing this.  The public needs to continue to complain if offensive content it seen.

What you can do

If you see billboards or other outdoor advertising that you think is unsuitable for children, or is otherwise offensive, you can lodge a complaint with the Advertising Standards Bureau.

Continue to ask for that promised review, and participate in public discussion