Division 5 candidate Stuart Battese

March 27, 2024

South Burnett Regional Council plans to review its bylaws surrounding election signage as part of a greater review of Local Laws already under way.

CEO Mark Pitt told southburnett.com.au election signage was covered by a number of different State and local regulations in regards to their placement and size, and whether they were located on TMR corridors, on already-licensed billboards on private land, or beside local roads.

The issue of election advertising was brought to the notice of Council by Division 5 candidate Stuart Battese during the recent poll.

Mr Battese also contacted southburnett.com.au shortly before polling day, alleging some of the signs displayed around the South Burnett were illegal, giving an unfair advantage to some candidates.

Mr Pitt confirmed that some election signs by some candidates had been removed by compliance officers ahead of the election.

However, it was not possible for all the issues alleged by Mr Battese to be addressed just days ahead of the March 16 poll.

Mr Pitt said variable (electronic) message boards which had been placed along highways had been photographed.

“TMR officers have been in the region and photographed various signage, both electoral advertising and other messaging,” Mr Pitt wrote in a reply to Mr Battese on March 14.

“This issue has also been raised prior to the current election period and Council has committed to conducting an audit in partnership with TMR for variable message boards and A-frames on trailers, for example.

“Council will also work collaboratively for a common approach to road signage given, in some cases, TMR issue Road Corridor Permits (RCPs) for signage infrastructure on State-controlled roads.”

Mr Pitt said Council would also commence an audit of registered and licensed billboards.

He agreed that some of these billboards contained electoral signage which could align with Mr Battese’s complaint about the dimensions of signs.

However, he emphasised that State law takes precedence over Council’s Local Laws, and these signs were registered and licensed.

Mr Pitt said Council’s initial set of Local Laws were “model rules” common to other councils set up in 2008 at amalgamation, with some amendments carried out in 2011.

Council’s latest review of its Local Laws had begun with the removal of two redundant laws.

The next planned review was of Council’s Animal Management local laws.

“Electoral signage will be reviewed as part of this ongoing process over the coming year,” Mr Pitt wrote.

“Also as a consequence of your feedback, a review of the fact sheet and application form associated with electoral signage has commenced with the view of making requirements clearer and removing any confusion that may exist in the interpretation of the requirements.”


One Response to "SBRC To Review Signage Bylaws"

  1. Definitely not the first case of this and, sadly, despite the issue being raised aplenty across elections, the issue seemingly remains.

    Those that follow the rules, noting the heavy leaning towards safety of signage, are all too often disadvantaged and even criticised for not having signs at times.

    Rules are all well and good but without fair enforcement across the plethora of political leanings/biases, the question of “why bother” occurs.

    South Burnett laws are reasonable too, as there are some Council regions that simply block roadside signage altogether, giving a clear advantage to those candidates who have “mates” with large properties/fenceline frontages to utilise.

    Whether it be Council or State/Federal enforcement, it is very trying to address the issue across large electoral boundaries as big as Queensland is, of course.

    Good luck to all.

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