NSW rewrites signage laws

The NSW Government has made changes to signage laws, introducing stricter laws around roadside trailer advertising, citing driver safety as a concern.

Illegal trailer wraps, or signage, that the State Environmental Planning Policy No. 64 – Advertising and Signage (SEPP 64) covers will be liable for $1500 fines for individuals and $3000 for businesses who advertise on trailers parked on roads, footpaths, nature strips and road shoulders, or where trailer advertising is displayed on private land without development consent. Local council will issue the fines, which will come into effect March 1.

Further, the SEPP requires signage ‘to be compatible with the future character of an area, provide effective communication in suitable locations and be of high quality design and finish.’

As a plus for the sign industry, advertising will now be allowed in transport corridors, while signage applications will be simplified.

Tess Phillips, general manager, OMA, says, “Now is an exciting time for signage in NSW, as the Lord Mayor’s comments come on top of another happy piece of news for the OOH industry: a significant change to the State’s regulation of signs – the SEPP 64.

“The updates to SEPP 64 and Guidelines will not necessarily mean more signs, but it will make the process of seeking approval for a sign development much more efficient. It also means that there is now one safe and consistent standard for the operation of digital signs in the State. To the OOH industry, it shows that NSW really is open for business.

“And good news for industry is good news for the State, given approximately 60 per cent of all OOH signs are owned by Government and the industry returns approximately 50 per cent of its revenue to government and landlords through rent and taxes.

“Print or digital, Christmas has come early for OOH as we progressively see Governments shift their focus to the creativity, innovation and utility our signs can deliver to cities, and we start to see more reasonable, evidence based regulation. We just hope this leads to even greater collaboration to pave the way for opportunities that will benefit us all.

The NSW Government says, “The changes to planning rules for outdoor advertising and signage will improve road safety and reduce driver distractions. During consultation, safety and amenity concerns were raised about roadside advertising trailers blocking motorists’ vision and distracting drivers. By reducing the types of roadside trailer advertising currently on our roads, we will minimise risks to drivers.

“Allowing advertising in transport corridors will provide funding for transport agencies and councils to deliver public benefit programs, such as road safety improvements, better public transport services and improvements to public amenity.”

SEPP 64 changes include: banning advertisements on parked trailers on roads, road shoulders footpaths and nature strips, excluding advertising associated with the primary use of the trailer, e.g. tradies trailer and public authorities; requiring consent for displaying signage on trailers parked on private land in view from roads, road shoulders footpaths and nature strips; allowing advertising in transport corridors permissible with consent from the Planning Minister or delegate, across NSW, alongside minor updates to clauses, terms and definitions.

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