14 March 2023
The federal government could pay community groups to drop fossil fuel sponsors, if a motion by City of Sydney council is approved at the upcoming Australian Local Government Association (ALGA) conference.
Sydney will take a motion to the ALGA National General Assembly in June that calls for a national fund to help local groups end sponsorship agreements with coal, petroleum or gas companies.
Deputy Lord Mayor, Greens Cr Sylvie Ellsmore said, “We need to stop promoting fossil fuels, which are causing huge damage to our environment, the climate and the health of our local residents.
“The City of Sydney was one of the first Councils in Australia to support a local ban on fossil fuel advertising.
“But we cannot do it alone. With Monday’s Council decision, we are bringing the community campaign to ban fossil fuels to the national local government assembly, with a direct call for action to the Australia Government,” she added.
Independent Cr William Chan told the meeting he hoped other councils would back the motion, “Because climate change doesn’t stop at our borders.. it’s a whole of government approach that’s needed.”
He added, “We can no longer be fueling the climate crisis with widespread fossil fuel sponsorships and greenwashing in our communities. It’s about taking a stand to cut ties with big polluters.”
“We’re urging local governments across the nation to call on the Australian Government to implement restrictions on fossil fuel advertising and sponsorship through national laws, similar to those imposed to prohibit tobacco promotions in 1992.”
The move follows a number of high profile sporting organisations dropping fossil fuel sponsors, including the Australian Open tennis (Santos) and Australian Cricket team (Alinta).
However, hundreds of such sponsorship agreements remain, despite the health and climate impacts of burning fossil fuels.
There’s precedent for such a fund, the Western Australian Health Promotion Foundation, or Healthway, which started replacing tobacco sponsorships in the 1990s.
Since the beginning of 2022 and the launch of the Fossil Ad Ban campaign, eleven Australian councils have voted to restrict fossil fuel advertising and sponsorships on council land.
Belinda Noble Founder & President of Comms Declare that runs the Fossil Ad Ban campaign, called on councils to support Sydney’s motion at the ALGA conference.
“We want to see communities embrace the clean energy future, and they can’t do that while they are entangled with legacy industries.
“This motion allows councils, with federal government backing, to help communities diversify and see a cleaner, brighter future.”
The City of Sydney motion was passed with bipartisan support, and it calls on the Australian government to: