As reported in today’s News-Mail, at Council’s meeting held on 5th November 2014 a Councillor moved the following motion without notice:


1.    Expressions of Interest be called for advertising on all Council Reservoirs and Infrastructure  –  for consideration by Council;  and

2.    existing advertising remain in place until the Expressions of Interest have been determined by Council.

Most Councillors were sympathetic to the mover’s desire to explore additional revenue  streams however it was blatantly clear that the wording of the motion was simply not practical or workable. It was hampered by ambiguity and the fact that it included the potential for advertising on every one of Council’s thousands of items of infrastructure. These could include every building, toilet, road surface, fence, water tank, seat, BBQ, playground, sign post, shelter shed, manhole, vehicle, roadside kerb, etc., etc.

Additionally, any potential application would have to be individually assessed by staff without any Guidelines or Policy in place for them to refer to. In fact, the motion was devoid of detail to the extent that no fee structure had even been considered or put in place.

The amount of time and associated cost involved in carrying out an assessment and preparing a report for every application (irrespective of how impracticable or far fetched it may be) would be unacceptable. I also understand that every application and associated report would then have to be presented to Councillors for review and determination which of course would incur even further costs.

At the same time, potential advertisers would have no idea whatsoever of what type of application may be successful, what would likely be refused or how much it would cost.

It was blatantly apparent to those who opposed the wording of the original motion that it was simply not workable and lacked any degree of required detail. Frankly, it was fraught with disaster.

With this in mind I moved a procedural motion which simply requested that the matter be deferred to a future meeting so that it could be thought through properly and workshopped by Councillors and relevant officers.

Unfortunately, my procedural motion was lost on the following vote:

For Against
Cr DJ Batt Cr AG Bush
Cr WA Honor Cr AL Ricciardi
Cr GR Barnes Cr VJ Habermann
Cr DE Rowleson Cr CR Sommerfeld
Cr JA Peters Cr LG Forgan
  Cr M Forman

Despite the concerns raised during the debate, Cr. Bush’s motion was then carried on the following vote:

For Against
Cr AG Bush Cr DJ Batt
Cr AL Ricciardi Cr WA Honor
Cr VJ Habermann Cr GR Barnes
Cr CR Sommerfeld Cr DE Rowleson
Cr LG Forgan Cr JA Peters
Cr M Forman

To say that I was surprised would be an understatement.

Thankfully, common sense prevailed and at the next meeting held yesterday 25th, Cr. Rowleson tabled a motion to rescind the original decision. He provided the following background information in support of his motion:

  • Council has no policy to guide the determination of advertising on Council infrastructure.
  • There were no guidelines attached to this resolution to assist our staff to prepare appropriate Expression of Interest documents; or to assess the Expressions of Interest received.
  • There were no criteria set on what types of Council infrastructure would be suitable for advertising purposes or the product which could be advertised.
  • There was no consideration given to the possible loss of visual amenity or the visual pollution impact advertising on Council infrastructure could cause.
  • There was no consideration given as to how advertising on Council infrastructure could cause a distraction to motorists; or even on the workplace health and safety issues for the Council staff or persons painting or erecting the advertising.
  • It would have been appropriate for Council to discuss this matter fully before any decision was made.  I consider that the Chief Executive Officer should facilitate a workshop to allow all issues relating to commercial advertising on selected Council infrastructure to be discussed and a recommendation then be made for Council’s consideration.

Apart from the issues raised in his background, Council had also received advice which declared that the original motion was indeed “invalid” as, apart from the other issues raised, it conflicted with Council’s adopted Planning Scheme & Local Laws.

Danny’s motion was then put to the vote and carried with the CEO undertaking to schedule a workshop in early 2015. As a result, the matter can now be thought through properly and brought back for an informed decision.

I’m aware that visual amenity associated with signage is an issue for many within the community and whether or not Council goes to public consultation on any proposed policy is obviously something that it will have to consider during its deliberations.


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