Luke Course
May 2, 2019
5 years ago

In a move that surprised many, the Queensland State Government recently announced they will ban any advertising content relating to junk food or alcohol on around 2,000 billboards across QLD. Queensland Health Minister Steven Miles announced the move.

This news has been widely reported and it is important to address a couple of things straight away:

  1. These ~2,000 billboards are all on State-owned properties and infrastructure. These include roads, bus stops and train stations
  2. At this stage all billboards on privately owned land are excluded, as are stadiums

This initiative has left many in the industry worried about two key possible implications. Firstly, will other states follow suite? Also, is this likely to be expanded as a restriction on all outdoor advertising content in a way similar to the historical ban on tobacco advertising?

It is hard to predict the behaviour of other states. Any such political decisions are almost impossible to envisage, and many states get significant revenue from outdoor advertising assets which would be impacted by such a ban (particularly Vicroads in Victoria and Roads & Maritime Services in NSW).

Probably the bigger question is that related to a more widespread ban on junk food or alcohol advertising. Restrictions on both industries already exist and could well be tightened as childhood obesity becomes an even bigger issue. An outright ban in the short-term would seem unlikely, especially as these “junk food” restaurants have made menus healthier and are large employers and contributors to the economy.

In summary, we would not be surprised to see further restrictions placed on junk food and alcohol advertising rather than an outright ban. The online gambling industry is also likely to face similar scrutiny.