Government advertising

If you’re advertising on behalf of the NSW Government you have a responsibility to ensure taxpayer funds are being used efficiently and effectively. 

What is advertising?

An activity is considered government advertising if it:

  1. is funded by or on behalf of a government agency, and
  2. is disseminated under a commercial advertising distribution agreement by means of radio, television, the internet, newspapers, billboards, cinemas or others

The Act generally applies to traditional advertising campaigns bought through a media buying agency. However, it can also apply to other communications activities, depending on how these activities are arranged, funded or distributed.

What rules apply to government advertising? 

There are rules that apply to all government advertising, and some that apply only to campaigns with large campaign budgets.

A ‘campaign budget’ includes: research, evaluation, media, creative and production fees associated with the campaign. 

Select one of the options below to find out what rules apply to your campaign. 

Even paid boosts on social media and recruitment ads are subject to advertising rules and regulations.
You must work with the Department of Customer Service to make sure your campaign is effective and coordinated.
These are the largest campaigns carried out by government and the rules that govern them must be followed.

When is advertising prohibited?


Government advertising is not permitted in the lead up to a NSW state election. 

Before every election, the NSW Government Caretaker Conventions are issued and provide up to date protocol on communications and other matters.

The only exceptions are:

  • advertising relating to public health and safety matters
  • service announcements (eg change of operating hours)
  • notices required by law
  • job and tender advertisements

Some agencies and events are also exempt from this restriction.

Need advice?

The NSW Government Communications team can offer advice on government advertising requirements. Contact us

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