Content and timing

The NSW Advertising Guidelines detail a number of principles that apply to the style and content of Government advertising campaigns, and how information should be disseminated.

NSW Government branding

Advertisements produced for and on behalf of the NSW Government should be clearly identifiable as originating from the NSW Government and include consistent branding. All NSW Government communications, including advertising, are required to carry branding that complies with the NSW Government Brand Guidelines which sets out the proper use of the NSW Government branding.

All efforts must be made to creatively incorporate appropriate government branding. In very limited circumstances agencies may be able to demonstrate that government branding would detract from advertising effectiveness. Solid recent evidence must be supplied to support alternative approaches to branding and would be considered on a case-by-case basis by Department of Premier and Cabinet and Events.

Communicating with culturally and linguistically diverse and Aboriginal audiences

NSW is one of the most culturally and linguistically diverse states in the world.

NSW Government communication materials, including Government advertising campaigns, are to depict the diverse nature of NSW society in a fair, representative and inclusive manner and be consistent with the multicultural principles that are the policy of the state.

Agencies are responsible for ensuring that all people in the NSW community have access to the relevant information about its services, programs and opportunities. When planning Government advertising campaigns or other communications, agencies should be sensitive to the cultural and linguistic diversity of people within their target audiences.

Public information and awareness advertising campaign submissions should include evidence that shows explicit consideration has been given to people from culturally and linguistically diverse and Aboriginal audiences.

It is required that agencies allocate at least 7.5 per cent of an advertising campaign media budget to direct communications with multicultural and Aboriginal audiences. Spend may be on media or non-media communication activities as deemed most effective for the campaign.

The nature and needs of the audience should determine both the proportion of budget (observing the above requirement) and the communication strategies to reach various segments. Agencies should also carefully consider the content, images, media and activities selected to ensure the advertising is as effective as possible for each target audience identified and is considerate of cultural sensitivities.

Non-media communications activities must be related to the campaign and could include activities such as events, participation at cultural festivals, direct mail, competitions and websites. The agency’s approach to both media and non-media activities should be informed by research and evidence and will be considered as part of peer review.

Agencies should provide information on the evaluation of their initiatives to target culturally and linguistically diverse and Aboriginal audiences in their reporting on advertising effectiveness.

Agencies should also report on these activities as part of the Multicultural Policies and Services Program reporting requirements, overseen by Multicultural NSW

Inclusion of people living with disabilities

There are approximately 1.3 million people with disability in NSW. Awareness of the communication requirements for people with disability is one of the principles applying to Government advertising campaigns, as stated in the Guidelines.

Under the Disability Discrimination Act 1992, agencies must ensure that people with disabilities have the same fundamental rights to access information and services as others in the community1.

Agencies should consider the following when producing Government advertising campaigns and materials:

  • Images that are used in advertising are representative of the NSW population and include people with disabilities where appropriate.
  • Government television and other multimedia advertising and information campaigns must contain captioning. Agencies may also wish to include consider AUSLAN interpretation for people with hearing impairment.
  • Government websites meet the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 Level AA.
  • Information materials are designed with people with intellectual disabilities and are available in multiple accessible formats.

The Disability Inclusion Act 2014 requires NSW Government departments and agencies to develop and put in place their own Disability Inclusion Action Plan. Agencies should be aware of and refer to their own Disability Inclusion Action Plan when planning a Government advertising campaign. 

Useful resources:



Where required under the Broadcasting Services Act 1992 (Cth) television advertisements that contain political matter are to be authorised. Free TV Australia can assist in determining if authorisation is to be applied. If used, NSW Government authorisation must be as follows; conclude with a full screen graphic displaying only the following (white text on a black background):
“Authorised by the NSW Government, Sydney. Spoken by...”

The names of all people who speak in the advertisement are to be written. If the person reading the authorisation tag has not spoken previously in the advertisement, they do not need to be identified.

“Authorised by the NSW Government, Sydney” is to be a spoken announcement. It must not commence until the black screen appears and may not be accompanied by any sound effects or music.

No other words, graphic elements, crests or logos are to be included on this final screen.


Where required under the Broadcasting Services Act 1992 (Cth) radio advertisements that contain political matter are to conclude with spoken authorisation statement: “Authorised by the NSW Government, Sydney. Spoken by...” No sound effects or music may accompany the voiceover.

Agencies should ensure any advertising requiring authorisation is consistent with their obligations under the Government Advertising Act 2011.

Restrictions on Government advertising prior to state election

Under the Act, Government advertising campaigns must not be carried out  after 26 January in year of a NSW state election. The only advertising permitted during the quarantine period is advertising that relates to public health and safety matters, service announcements, notices required by law, job and tender advertisements.

The Regulation lists agencies and events also exempt from this restriction and permitted to continue Government advertising campaigns after 26 January in an election year.

Partnership and sponsorship arrangements

Government agencies should be conscious that partnership arrangements (such as campaigns conducted on behalf or with the endorsement of a Government agency but funded solely or partly by a non-government entity) that feature Government branding, may fall within the definition of a Government advertising campaign under the Act and therefore be subject to the requirements of the Act. Agency heads are responsible for this determination.

NSW Government agencies have different needs and issues concerning sponsorship and other similar arrangements for advertising and communications, including advertising which falls under the Act.

Agencies should be aware of the risks when engaging in sponsorships and refer to Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) sponsorship guidelines when engaging in sponsorship activities. The Agencies also may need to follow any internal guidance on sponsorship.


1. Agencies must abide by the Australian Human Rights Commission’s Disability Act Advisory Notes to mitigate risk of disability discrimination complaint.