In politics, the ad industry can make or break campaigns, as well as the advertising budgets.
The cost of advertising can be very significant.
In the past decade, the number of political ads has more than doubled, with $1.4 billion spent on the 2013 election.
That is nearly double the $739 million spent in the 2004 election.
But the rise of social media has made it harder for politicians to hide the cost of their political ads, especially in rural and regional areas.
While the costs of political advertising are often hidden behind a barrage of text, images and sound effects, the cost to a small community like a small town can be significant.
“You may think it’s small, but in fact it can be a very big cost,” said John Cairns, director of the Centre for Research and Action on Public Spending.
“There is a real issue with public debate in rural Australia. “
In a small rural community, it can take a long time for the message to reach the rural communities that are in the inner-city, because it’s really hard for them to get their heads around what’s going on.”
“There is a real issue with public debate in rural Australia.
There’s a real need for a more transparent, more open public debate,” Cairn said.
“If there is no public debate, it will be a waste of money.”
For example, in the 2014 election, the Australian Electoral Commission published a survey which revealed that the median household income in rural parts of the country was $51,932, but that the average household income was $86,715 in the metropolitan areas.
“There’s a lot of uncertainty around the impact of these ads and the costs that can be incurred by them,” Cairs said.
A lack of transparency is a key issue in rural communities, as they are often ignored by political parties.
“That’s why we’ve launched a campaign to change that,” Caims said.
The campaign started in February this year, and has now seen its first major success, with the support of a national advocacy group.
The Rural Electorate’s National Action Plan will launch on March 2.
“The campaign will involve a series of billboards in rural areas across Western Australia.
They will be paid for by a small amount of local tax revenue, which will go to our Rural Electorates’ National Action Fund,” Rural Electors said in a statement.
“We are determined to show the importance of local politics and the importance that local people have of being involved in government.
We want to see these billboards to be seen by as many people as possible, in a way that respects the rural community’s needs and their rights.”
The billboards will be placed in rural towns, including the small towns of Braddon and South Melbourne, and will be manned by local volunteers.
“It will be the first campaign of its kind in Western Australian history,” Caired said.
He said the billboards were not funded by any political party.
“Our intention is to do this for as long as it takes,” he said.