City of Sydney councillors voted on Monday to investigate a ban on fossil fuel advertising on its outdoor network and at public events such as New Year’s Eve.

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      An outdoor ad for Australian Gas Networks

The council passed a motion, put forward by deputy mayor Jess Scully, that said the City of Sydney should “investigate ways to restrict advertising for fossil fuels for any council-controlled signage or property, as well as a ban on accepting sponsorships from companies whose main business is the extraction or sale of coal, oil or gas.”

The motion states: “Fossil fuels are the primary cause of global warming, which is impacting our City and Greater Sydney in the form of more intense and frequent heatwaves, storms, bushfires, floods and droughts.”

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  'The people of Sydney have
     woken up': Jess Scully,
         Deputy Lord Mayor

Scully told the meeting: “I think this is the moment we can draw a line in the sand and say ‘not here’ and ‘no more’ because we know that the people of the City of Sydney do want climate action, they do want us to move away from a fossil-fuel dependent economy and they do know that to do that we need to get rid of the whitewashing, get rid of the self-promotion that the sector is doing.

“Some people might say, you know, that’s beyond the role of local governments. Some people might say it’s a woke campaign but you know what, lord mayor, the great thing is that the people of the City of Sydney have woken up.”

The motion also called on Sydney’s Lord Mayor Clover Moore to write to both the federal minister for communications Michelle Rowland and outgoing NSW minister for digital government Victor Dominello and call for similar bans at federal and state levels.

The real estate controlled by City of Sydney — including billboards, bus shelters and street furniture — is the "jewel in the crown" of Australia's advertising space, according to Comms Declare - one of the groups behind a campaign to stop advertising by fossil fuel companies.

“Congratulations to the people of Sydney, your streets and events may soon be free of the insidious promotion of toxic fossil fuels,” Comms Declare said in a statement. “While we transition to cleaner energy it’s imperative that legacy industries are not allowed to greenwash their businesses or delay emissions reduction efforts.”

In Victoria, Yarra City Council and Moreland City Council have both voted for a report on how to restrict fossil fuel advertising.


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