Brisbane billboards putting faces to issues ahead of G20


Photography and photo sourcing by KIMBERLEY MCCOSKER

Billboards popping up around Brisbane are putting faces to the faceless issues of climate change and inequality in the lead up to the G20 summit next week.

Oxfam’s poster of a young South Sudanese boy standing in an oversized suit that was put up yesterday, perches high on Melbourne Street in South Bank, while down on Peel Street fire fighter Dean McNulty features on a billboard informing the public  on how important climate change is to him.

Peel Street Billboard. Source: WWF
Melbourne Street Billboard, Photographer Kim McCosker
Melbourne Street Oxfam Billboard. Photo: Kim McCosker





These billboards, backed by national and international conservation groups, sit in stark contrast to the promotional posters of the cultural celebrations happening in Brisbane over the next two weeks.

Restricted Airport billboard. Source WWF

An Oxfam spokeswoman said their billboard in South Bank is intended to call to action the G20 leaders travelling to the Brisbane Convention and Entertainment Centre.

“We wanted to place the billboards in a prominent place near the G20 venue to call to action to G20 leaders to take real action during their summit on inequality,” the Oxfam spokeswoman said.

“We not only need to work directly with communities but we also need to advocate for the interests of the poor at dialogues, including at the global level, such as the upcoming G20 meeting in Brisbane.”

At Brisbane airport, three billboards have already been restricted for being too ‘political’, however Queensland government’s Reef Facts campaign billboard remains.

These billboards aimed to promote growing concerns over lack of climate change and poverty discussions and anti-corruption issues calling to be addressed ahead of the G20 summit set to hit Brisbane next week.

oOH!Media, who handles Brisbane Airport advertising, told the organisations their billboards were too political, citing BAC’s advertising policy that prevents advertising designed to deliver a political response.

Qld Government's Reef Facts Billboard at Brisbane Airport. Photo: Tanya Sinh.
Qld Government’s Reef Facts Billboard at Brisbane Airport. Photo: Tanya Sinh

However, the Queensland government’s billboard in the arrivals area at the international airport remains.

Minister for Environment and Heritage Protection Andrew Powell released a statement earlier this year saying the Reef facts’s intention is to combat the ‘misinformation’  of conservation organisations.

A BAC spokeswoman says the Qld Reef facts campaign billboard does not constitute as a political response.

“Our judgment is that government advertising about government programs do not constitute advertising with a political intent.”

Australian Conservation Foundation Climate Change Campaigner Guy Ragen, who is involved with the #onmyagenda billboards, said stopping the signs won’t stop growing public concerns.

“They may try to stop a sign but they won’t stop Australians from wanting more renewable energy and less carbon pollution,” Mr Ragen said.

“Our government has taken a huge leap backwards, they are not listening to the more than 80% of Australians who want serious action to tackle climate change.”

WWF will launch a “fair go” petition in response to BAC’s restriction of it’s #onmyagenda billboards, with Farmer David Bruer from the restricted billboard flying to Brisbane specifically to hand the petition to Airport authorities.


Amy Mitchell-Whittington

Amy Mitchell-Whittington is currently in her final year of Journalism at Griffith University, Brisbane. She has a degree in Film and Screen Media which she completed at Griffith University in 2007. Her goal is to combine her passion for cinematography and camera work with the ability to tell a good story and document the world around her.