More money was spent on advertising federal recycling initiatives across major social media platforms Facebook and Instagram than all other publicly funded ad campaigns combined, highlighting the environmental tightrope the government will walk in the election campaign.
The Coalition spent $838,000 advertising its Remade in Australia campaign on Facebook and Instagram in the past 90 days, ahead of the federal election campaign.
Much less was spent on the next biggest investment – the Making Positive Energy campaign promoting the government’s climate policy, which received $267,000. The JobTrainer skills package had $142,000 spent on ads, while $42,000 was spent by Commonwealth renewable energy agency the Clean Energy Council.
Recycling is an uncontroversial issue for the government to promote because it appeals to climate-conscious inner-city electorates without offending regional seats that value farming and mining jobs.
To promote the government’s record on issues like climate change and habitat protection would be riskier for the Coalition. Its plan to reduce greenhouse emissions, which hinges on industry adopting cleaner technology as it becomes cheaper, is criticised by climate action advocates who say the timeline to cut carbon pollution is too slow and will accelerate damaging global warming.
The federal Coalition has also faced heat over habitat protection since it announced plans to make state governments responsible for assessing the environmental impacts of major developments.
Facebook and Instagram are key advertising battlegrounds for government-held electorates where independent candidates are challenging moderate Liberals with advertisements for more ambitious action on climate change.
Allegra Spender, standing against Dave Sharma in Wentworth, spent $75,000, while the independents in Mackellar and North Sydney, Sophie Scamps and Kylea Tink respectively, each spent $50,000 promoting the same issues.