By Michael Giles

ADVERTISING is not a four-letter word.
You wouldn’t be watching the cricket on Channel 7 if it wasn’t for advertising.
And, conversely, the reason why there’s virtually nothing else on TV these days is also because of advertising, or rather, the lack of it, with the advent of Netflix and the like.
If it wasn’t for advertising, some of it by the State Government, you wouldn’t be reading this.
But the fact is, because of more challenging times in retail and the advertising spend being vacuumed up by online offerings like Google, advertising revenue to traditional media has been falling in recent years.
These are challenging times but all the more important that local newspapers stand their ground as the watchdog for the community.
So, what really irks in this climate is an irrelevant State Opposition scoring cheap political points by sending out a media release highlighting the fact that the Andrews Government has spent $1.47 million on a six-month campaign, highlighting why they’ve launched Regional Roads Victoria to look after country roads.
It’s a return to the Country Roads Board days and hopefully putting a more direct focus on the state of rural roads.
In fact, the government is highlighting its $100 million ‘Fixing Country Roads Program’ as part of the campaign and the small-by-comparison, $800,000 spend on advertising, telling people about it is fair enough.
Because the government should actually be taking more responsibility to inform the public about its services and initiatives, not less.
Where are the mental health services located in your area?
Do you know, for example, the amazing array of services available at your local library?
What is the government doing in your area for the taxes you pay?
You’re entitled to know.
But gone are the days when local media can turn up at every government announcement or run their hundreds of free media releases without a bit of support coming back the other way.
Apparently, the offending media release came out of Michael O’Brien’s office – Michael who?
That should tell you how well the Liberal Party’s media unit is going at the moment.
And a Happy Christmas to you too, Roma Britnell!