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September 27, 2023

Sue Higginson introduces bill to ban fossil fuel ads

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Sue Higginson MLC. Photo Tree Faerie.

Greens NSW Upper House MP Sue Higginson has today given notice of a bill set to ban fossil fuel advertising in New South Wales.

The Public Health and Safety (Fossil Fuel Advertising) Bill 2022, aims to introduce a tobacco-style ban for fossil fuel companies, citing public health concerns as a key reason that fossil fuel companies should be prevented from being able to advertise.

The move follows an ongoing community campaign by Comms Declare, ‘Fossil Ad Ban’, that calls for an end to greenwashing ad campaigns and social licence purchase of fossil fuel companies through sponsorship of sports teams. Motions in support of the campaign have been tabled in local councils across the state, with the City of Sydney Council passing a motion in recent weeks.

Ms Higginson said, ‘Climate change is the biggest public health crisis we’re facing and this bill recognises the huge and destructive contribution fossil fuel companies make to this crisis.

‘It’s wrong that these companies that are causing so much damage and who are behind the terrible climate disasters we’re now continually facing are able to run public advertising campaigns showing wind turbines and solar panels or to have their names on the uniforms of our children’s sports teams,’ she said.

‘We need to remove that opportunity for these companies to influence our communities and I commend Comms Declare for their commitment to making this happen,’ said Ms Higginson.

Stimulating demand

Belinda Noble is the founder of Comms Declare. She said, ‘Fossil fuel marketing only exists to stimulate demand for toxic coal, petrol and methane gas, polluting our air, accelerating climate change and delaying the transition to clean energy.

Belinda Noble, Founder Cooms Declare. Photo supplied.

‘Advertising self-regulation has failed to protect the public, and a ban on fossil fuel advertising is the only way we can effectively and quickly stamp out greenwashing and misinformation.

‘I thank Sue Higginson for making this move to protect public health and I hope other states and the federal government will soon follow,’ said Ms Noble.

Tobacco ban campaigner, author and Emeritus Professor from Sydney School of Public Health Simon Chapman said, ‘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?

‘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,’ said Professor Chapman.

The fossil fuel threat

Another supporter of the bill is child/adolescent psychiatrist and paediatrician Dr Cybele Dey. She said, ‘Mining coal, oil and gas threatens the health and wellbeing of all Australians and everyone on this planet and I hope all NSW MPs and Senators act to protect health by ending fossil fuel advertising.

‘Health professionals support stopping fossil fuel advertising because they witness the human toll from burning fossil fuels via air pollution and climate change.

‘As a child and adolescent psychiatrist and paediatrician, I’m especially concerned about our children and young people, over 50% of whom feel betrayed by governments over climate change. We are already seeing more children coming to hospital with self-harm during extreme heat and depression following climate-fuelled disasters,’ she said.

‘Leadership by NSW MPs and senators to stop fossil fuel advertising would provide realistic hope for young people and protect health into the future,’ said Dr Dey.

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  1. Fossil-fuel ads are one big deception to keep the lethal industry going a little bit longer, and probably paid for by government subsidy, ie taxpayers. For too long they have used them to dumb-down the general population, lobby politicians etc. The powerful lobby killed off the super-profits mining resources-rent tax, threatening former PM Rudd they’d spends millions on political advertising against Labor if it was not withdrawn., which Labor quickly did. The ‘revolving door’ of the industry with government in the past decade or so saw well over 150 former and current politicians, political advisers and bureaucrats moving from the fossil fuel and mining industries into public office or vice-versa. The big five miners which earn billions from giant gas mining projects pay sweet FA tax or royalties. Enough is really enough, this debate is long overdue.

    • Luis, 100%.

      And when the moment arrives to levy a ‘windfall tax’ on the Fossil Fuellers who are creaming it off the back of Putin’s War, our Treasurer Jim in Canberra says he not having any of it – the FF protection racket marches relentlessly onwards under the stewardship of The Lab LibNat FF Cartel.

      • The ‘Fossil Fuellers’ you are talking about are the OPEC countries, They are where we get our oil. They are raising and lowering production which is effect our price. Maybe we should invade them so we can bend the Middle East to our will. What could go wrong?

  2. Well I challenge Sue Higginson to prove she is genuine and call for a ban on all tourism advertising too, at the very least applied to all advertising by airlines

  3. Banishing greenwashing in all areas of advertising is a large but worthwhile task. As well as fossil fuel companies, airlines advertising holiday travel, and cruise ships also should be targeted as this is unnecessary use of carbon emissions in a climate emergency. If the Greens are serious about tackling climate change they should be promoting carbon accounting for individuals as well as corporations. Corporate profits depend on the everyday purchasing decisions of individuals.

    • Do I get to administer the ‘carbon accounting for individuals’? What an amazing power to have over people. All animals are equal, some Animals are more equal than others, and my guys need way more energy than you lot. For the good of the planet.

  4. Christian Steinberg I did not state that other people or the government should control individuals’ carbon accounting. Permit me to clarify; environmentalists should motivate people to monitor and reduce their own consumption and carbon footprint.


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