The Member for South Perth, Mr John McGrath MLA, wants the State Government to use billboards strategically placed on major roads and highways to advertise the Western Australian tourism industry.
Mr McGrath says “The tourism industry is suffering badly from the effects of the current economic downturn and deserves the support of our local community who can be encouraged to holiday in the state rather than interstate or overseas.”
In raising the issue in Parliament recently, Mr McGrath commended Tourism Minister Elizabeth Constable for initiating the “Holiday at Home” campaign to promote the many wonderful Western Australian tourist destinations.
Mr McGrath said: “I feel we should add to our commitment to promoting the State’s tourism industry by allowing the strategic placement of roadside advertising along our main roads. This would bring local tourism to the attention of vast numbers of Western Australians on a daily basis.”
“I understand the Main Roads Department has historically opposed major advertising signage along roads under it’s control – apparently because of perceived safety concerns. It seems to me that this argument is totally negated by the experience of such signage on Perth Airport land which does not seem to have been the cause of any safety issues on adjacent main roads.”
“On the contrary, appropriate signage along freeways and other major highways, especially in rural areas, may well keep drivers alert and prevent boredom which seems to be the reason for many unfortunate motor vehicle accidents.”
Mr McGrath believes that in refusing this form of advertising the State is foregoing a quite legitimate source of on-going revenue.
“I suggest the government should move quickly to call for expressions of interest from the advertising sign industry for the rights to erect billboards along our main roads, on the condition they be used initially for tourism advertising only” said Mr McGrath.
Mr McGrath said the Main Roads department would have the final say on sites it felt were appropriate for signage.
“I suggest roadside advertising along our main roads is totally justified and should be introduced without delay as a means of assisting the promotion of the Western Australian tourism industry,” he said.