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Tender is open to run advertising on Australia’s biggest transport project.


Comms Declare, a coalition for positive climate action from the communications and advertising sector, has called for the NSW government to prevent fossil fuel ads being shown on Sydney’s new metro lines.

The Sydney City Metro and Southwest line OOH advertising contract is currently open for tender.

More than 200 health professionals and organisations have backed the Fossil Ad Ban campaign for tobacco-style restrictions on fossil fuel advertising and sponsorships.

Belinda Noble, Comms Declare Founder said,  “Public property should not be used to advertise coal, petroleum and gas products in direct contradiction of the government’s stated aim to reach net zero. To decarbonise we must diversify to renewables and encourage low emissions behaviour, not promote the main drivers of global warming on our public transport.”

Noble has written to Transport Minister, David Elliott MP, Treasurer, Matt Kean MP and Minister for Fair Trading, Victor Dominello MP asking for coal, oil and gas ads to be excluded from this and future tenders.

The tender is to run advertising on Metro trains and stations for up to 10 years (from 2024-2034), and ads for coal, gas or petrol are not excluded. Up to 40,000 passengers per hour will travel on the metro, nearly double the current number on the rail network.

The City of Sydney and Inner West are among seven Australian councils to vote in favour of fossil fuel advertising bans on their property – both sit on the new Sydney Metro line. The councils are also writing to the state government to ask for state-wide bans.

In addition, the Public Health and Safety (Fossil Fuel Advertising) Bill has been introduced by Sue Higginson MP to ban fossil fuel advertising across the state. NSW Independents, Alex Greenwich and Justin Field also support a Fossil Ad Ban.

Simon Chapman, tobacco ban campaigner, author and Emeritus Professor from Sydney School of Public Health said “Tobacco advertising is banned in most nations because smoking kills 2 in every 3 of its long term users: 8 million people a year worldwide. But this number is chicken-feed when we consider the existential threat to generations to come of unabated climate change this century caused by frequent extreme weather events, crop failure, conflict caused by population displacement and more. How can we continue to allow the rampant marketing of fossil fuel emitting energy sources to continue when we know what the impact will be and what is at stake?”

Air pollution from burning fossil fuels claims between 2,616 and 5,700* lives in Australia every year – more than road accidents. Globally air pollution from burning fossil fuels claims more lives than smoking.

Sydney’s air pollution is regularly above recommended levels and residents face numerous threats from global warming including more intense heat waves, droughts, less drinkable water and sea level rise.

The Minerals Council of Australia has recently advertised the environmental benefits of coal mines on Sydney’s trains. Glencore ads have recently appeared on the Newcastle Tram.

*Air pollution from fossil fuels caused 8.7 million premature deaths in 2018, study finds from, Yale Climate Connections, Apr 2021.2 Global mortality from outdoor fine particle pollution generated by fossil fuel combustion from, Harvard University in collaboration with University of Birmingham, the University of Leicester and University College London, Feb 2021. Finding: Death rate from fossil fuel pollution in Australia represents 4 per cent of all deaths each year, or 5,700 fatalities.