About the 2019-20 advertising plan

By publishing of the Victorian Government Advertising Plan 2019–20, the Victorian Government continues its commitment to maintaining transparency on government advertising expenditure.

In developing the advertising plan for 2019–20, each advertising campaign proposed by Victorian Government departments and agencies was carefully considered and assessed.

Activities that support vital health, safety and community wellbeing objectives, assist Victorians to respond to disruptions or service changes, or support economic or commercial development were prioritised for inclusion in the 2019–20 advertising plan. These activities are often undertaken by independent government bodies and agencies with statutory obligations to educate and inform the community, rather than by central government departments.

As in previous years, the Victorian Government’s 2019–20 advertising plan included significant campaigns to inform the Victorian community about disruptions and service changes caused by major road and rail infrastructure projects, to support community health and safety, and major behaviour change campaigns tackling family violence and gambling harm.

The 2019–20 advertising plan also included major new campaigns to encourage Victorians to plan and prepare for the 2019–20 fire season, and to support the Victorian tourism industry, public schools, and the TAFE sector.

The government considers these activities are critical to delivering its strategic priorities for Victoria, while representing an effective investment of public money.

Throughout 2019–20, each individual campaign underwent a further layer of scrutiny to ensure the level of advertising expenditure planned for the campaign is prudent and represents the minimum amount required to achieve the campaign’s strategic objectives.

Adjusting the annual advertising plan

Government advertising priorities may change throughout the year in response to changing circumstances or emerging issues. Therefore, some advertising included within the 2019–20 plan did not take place as scheduled, while additional advertising was required that was not anticipated when the plan was developed.

Advertising necessary to alert the community to unexpected emergencies (such as severe heat warnings) is considered on a case-by-case basis and is not included in this annual advertising plan.

Reporting on government advertising expenditure

Each year, the Victorian Government publishes a report on total government advertising expenditure for the previous financial year, as well as a report summarising significant advertising campaigns undertaken during the year. These reports can be found online at www.vic.gov.au/advertising-plans-and-spend.

Departments and agencies also report details of any advertising campaigns with media advertising costs of $100,000 or more, within their annual reports.

Non-campaign advertising

This advertising plan summarises Victorian Government advertising campaigns planned for 2019–20. Campaign advertising is generally intended to communicate a particular message or change people’s behaviour over time – for example, road safety campaigns.

The Victorian Government also undertakes a range of ‘non-campaign’ advertising, which includes recruitment advertising and functional advertising (such as requests for tender, notifications about community consultations and road closure notices).

While campaign advertising accounts for the majority of government advertising expenditure, the government also has measures in place to ensure non-campaign advertising is undertaken in a cost-effective manner.

An example is the government’s policy that government departments should not place
non-campaign advertising in metropolitan print newspapers, in favour of using digital channels which can more effectively and efficiently reach the relevant audience.

Advertising standards in legislation

In September 2017, the government passed legislation to strengthen governance of communication and advertising undertaken by public sector bodies, by introducing new
Part 5A to the Public Administration Act 2004 (the Act).

Part 5A of the Act includes measures to restrict government television advertising to five purposes or ‘priority areas’. No other government television advertising is permitted under the Act.

As detailed within this report, all advertising campaigns included in the 2019–20 advertising plan contribute to one of these five communication priority areas.

In 2018, the government also introduced new Regulations under Part 5A of the Act to further strengthen governance of public sector communication and advertising.

The Act and the Public Administration (Public Sector Communication Standards) Regulations 2018 can be viewed online at www.legislation.vic.gov.au.