Greens push to keep Canberra’s public spaces for our Canberra public


In a push to ‘keep Canberra beautiful’, the Greens will today commit to removing outdoor corporate advertising out of public spaces throughout Canberra. 

In a deliberate move away from corporatising public space, the Greens will strengthen Canberra’s status as an ad-free city by:

  • Enforce existing signage laws and ensure the removal of any current illegal billboards
  • Ban roadside electoral advertising 
  • Introduce specific offences for roadside advertising using illegally parked or idling vehicles for commercial or political purposes. 
  • Roll back bus shelter advertising and ending Adshel contract 
  • Roll back advertising both inside and outside buses

The Greens plan extends specifically to corporate advertising - as distinct from public interest communication, such as the ACT Government’s COVID-safe signage, promotion of community events, or the ‘rainbow bus’. 

Leading cities around the world including São Paulo, Chennai, Grenoble, Tehran, Paris and now even New York have also spawned community-led movements to ban corporate outdoor advertising.

Comments attributable to Rebecca Vassarotti, ACT Greens Planning Spokesperson:

“One of the best things about coming back to Canberra from other cities is the relief at not being bombarded with advertising everywhere you look. 

“Nearly everyone hates corporate advertising in our public spaces, but it’s starting to encroach into our city, despite public opinion being so strongly against it. Public space should be for the public, not for big corporations, especially in our national capital. We’ve got to push back before it’s too late. 

“This kind of ubiquitous corporate advertising is bad for our wellbeing. Corporate ads can make many of us feel that we’re not good enough, beautiful enough, thin enough, or rich and powerful enough - messages that can especially impact children and young people, which as a mother of three and a Canberran, I find especially troubling.

“At a time of climate crisis, we need to cut mass consumption - not encourage it.

“Our plan will put Canberra in step with other leading cities around the world who are saying no to this kind of large-scale corporate advertising in the public realm.”


In January 2017, Chief Minister Andrew Barr suggested that Canberra’s regulation of public space advertising was out of date and needed review. The reaction from the community was swift and clear - Canberrans love the restrictions on ads and want them to remain.  

A Legislative Assembly inquiry found that most people wanted restrictions on outdoor advertising, with 155 of the 162 submissions opposing relaxing restrictions. Soon after, polling of some 1,200 Canberrans found that around 3 in 4 Canberrans agreed or strongly agreed that outdoor advertising reduced the quality of public spaces, and that Canberra's advertising-free environment made it a more pleasant place to live than other, bigger cities.

In February 2018, the ACT Government responded to the inquiry, dismissing many of the community’s concerns and proposing only minimal action

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