Advertising requirements

When undertaking advertising, NSW Government agencies must know and adhere to the legal framework for government advertising as set out by the Government Advertising Act (2011) and the Government Advertising Regulation (2012).

To help you, the NSW Government Advertising Handbook and the NSW Government Advertising Guidelines explain the current government requirements as they relate to planning, preparing, managing and reporting advertising activities. Under the NSW Government Advertising Guidelines, campaigns are required to be presented objectively, in a fair and accessible manner. This means that campaign material should be apolitical in line with the intent of the Government Advertising Act (2011). Agencies should also ensure that their activities are consistent with their obligations under the Government Sector Employment Act 2013.

A key requirement is that a Compliance Certificate from the Agency head must be issued for all government advertising, irrespective of budget or purpose. The Regulation allows for an authorised officer to complete the Compliance Certificate instead for some advertising.

For advertising with a total budget of more than $50,000 (excluding GST) additional steps apply, as noted below, before it can commence. This total cost is inclusive of any research, media, creative and production associated with the campaign.

Key requirements by budget threshold

Req's   Under $50,000 (excluding GST) Over $50,000 (excluding GST) Over $1 million (excluding GST)
Legal Compliance Certificate Compliance Certificate Compliance Certificate
Legal   Peer Review Peer Review
Legal     Cost Benefit Analysis
Policy     Approval from Cabinet Standing Committee on Communication and Government Advertising


Subject to agency head approval and in accordance with Section 7 and 8 of the Government Advertising Act, agencies may commence an advertising campaign before peer review in urgent circumstances. In these instances, peer review must be conducted within two weeks of the campaign going live, and completed prior to campaign end. Agencies must also publicly report the rationale and circumstances relating to the urgent advertising. Please contact Government Communications as soon as there may be urgent advertising required to discuss requirements.

Cabinet Standing Committee on Communication and Government Advertising

All advertising campaigns with a cost likely to exceed $1,000,000 require the approval of the Cabinet Standing Committee on Communication and Government Advertising.

NSW Government agencies should be mindful to include sufficient time to seek approval from the committee.

Prior to lodging a submission to the Standing Committee, the following requirements of the Government Advertising Act 2011 must be completed: 

  1. Peer review
  2. Cost Benefit Analysis
  3. Compliance Certificate

CBA and Compliance certificate are required attachments to the Cabinet Submission.

Contact Government Communications for more information

Cost Benefit Analysis (CBA)

Where the cost of a NSW Government advertising campaign is likely to exceed $1,000,000, Section 7 (1) of the Government Advertising Act 2011 requires a cost benefit analysis to be carried out before the campaign commences. The agency proposing the campaign is responsible for preparing it. Agencies should refer to the following guidance:

  1. Cost Benefit Analysis for Government Advertising - Framework
  2. Cost Benefit Analysis for Government Advertising – User Guide

 Agencies can contact Treasury for advice on preparing a CBA: [email protected]