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Media Release: Greens Climate Policy Announcement

Greens seek to exclude companies that work on fossil fuel projects from tendering for council contracts

A Greens-led Brisbane City Council will take real action on climate change by banning the council from contracting with companies that work on fossil fuel projects. We would also make Brisbane more fire, flood and heatwave-resilient, and cut climate pollution directly via council policy changes.

Brissie is feeling the heat. We’ve already suffered through multiple heatwaves this summer, and climate disasters like floods, fires and heatwaves are getting worse. 

The world is getting hotter because governments and corporations refuse to stand up to coal, oil and gas companies and transition away from fossil fuels. So where does Brisbane City Council come in?

Ban tenders to companies who help big polluters

Brisbane City Council is an enormous entity, with a $4.3 billion budget. It awards hundreds of millions of dollars in contracts to private corporations every year, and how the council chooses to award those contracts can have a significant impact on the private sector.

The council can change the economics of coal and gas projects by being more selective about who it awards contracts to. The current council administration already has policies in place to prioritise local businesses that tender for contracts, and they have procurement targets for social enterprises.

If the council publicly announced that it was amending its tendering criteria in order to stop giving contracts to companies that work on fossil fuel projects, this would send a strong signal to a range of industries that they must choose between risky, inconsistent private sector contracts, or stable and consistent contracts for public projects and services.

That’s exactly what we want to do.

A Greens-led council administration will amend BCC’s tendering policies so that Council contracts are not given to any private companies that also work on, or directly profit from, fossil fuel extraction projects and associated infrastructure projects.

This would include coal, oil and gas extraction, as well as the supporting projects, such as coal train lines, oil and gas pipelines, and related shipping port infrastructure.

Our plan would hurt big polluters like coal mining billionaires and gas fracking companies, so we expect their allies Labor and the LNP will attack it.


Comments attributable to Jonathan Sriranganathan, Greens candidate for Mayor of Brisbane

“Brisbane City Council can send a strong, clear message to the private sector that it’s time to stop doing business with fossil fuel companies.”

“If construction, engineering, design, logistics and IT companies want to work on BCC-funded projects in future, they’ll need to make the ethical decision to turn down fossil fuel projects.”

“We’re saying to these industries: You have a choice. Will you keep working on fossil fuel projects that destroy the planet, or do you want the opportunity to work with local governments on positive projects you can be proud of?”

“Exporting and burning fossil fuels is destroying the biosphere and sentencing us all to a future of increasingly severe climate disasters and disrupted global trade networks.”

“Rather than blaming individuals, the Greens want to force big corporations to take more responsibility for their role in accelerating global warming.”

“Many of the projects and services that the council currently outsources to the private sector would be better off handled in-house anyway.”

“Shifting away from dependence on private contractors who add in their own fat profit margins, and rebuilding the council’s internal capacity to build infrastructure and deliver services directly, will yield a range of benefits in the long-run.”

“Alongside amending tendering rules to discourage companies from working on fossil fuel projects, a Greens-led council would also divest from any investments the council currently has in fossil fuel companies, and would ban fossil fuel companies from advertising on council-owned infrastructure and vehicles.”


Other Greens policies to keep Brisbane residents safe in climate disasters 

The Greens will keep Brisbane residents safe in future climate disasters like floods, fires and heatwaves. We will: 

  • Ban new development on very flood-prone land. This would include any land mapped in the City Plan as River or Creek/Waterway Flood Planning Areas 1 or 2 (or equivalent). We would also require all new developments adding more than 300m2 of hard surfaces to conduct a basic flood impact assessment. 
  • Protect street trees by properly enforcing the City Plan rather than rolling over for big developers. 
  • Make homes cooler and cheaper to run by enforcing energy efficiency standards in the City Plan and National Construction Code instead of giving big developers whatever they want. 
  • Protect existing trees on private land via a proactive citywide audit to ensure that all trees and vegetated areas that provide significant habitat for native wildlife are mapped appropriately and protected from clearing via mechanisms such as Vegetation Protection Orders and inclusion on the City Plan’s Biodiversity Overlay.
  • Make developers plant more trees. For medium-density and high-density development projects including townhouses, flats, short-term accommodation, highrises and mixed-use developments, at least 20% of the site area must contain deep-planted trees at ground level. This would be an increase from the current 15% requirement, which the LNP raised from 10% after Greens pressure. 
  • Plan for the future: The Council should consult widely and prepare a comprehensive plan to guide the gradual, long-term relocation of low-lying residential neighbourhoods that are highly vulnerable to creek flooding, river flooding, sea level rise, storm surge flooding or coastal erosion. Where critical infrastructure is regularly damaged by flooding, Council should develop plans to build back better after future floods.


Housing justice and protecting the environment

Housing justice is tightly connected to protecting the environment. We would make better use of existing buildings and residential land rather than continuing urban sprawl. Construction is a necessary but an emissions-intensive process. While our vacancy levy, rent freeze, and short-term rental crackdown proposals are focused on putting vacant and short-term accommodation dwellings back onto the market, prompting construction on vacant land, and putting downward pressure on rents and land value, it would also make more efficient use of existing dwellings.

If thousands of apartments and houses become available to rent or buy at lower prices at the same time, we could halt land-clearing for new sprawling suburban development. If developers were forced to either build on vacant lots, or sell to somebody who will, housing prices would fall, and more people would be able to live in Brisbane’s existing footprint. 


Cut climate pollution directly 

Our fossil fuel contracting ban will work alongside our other plans to transform Brisbane and cut climate pollution directly with Council policy. We will:  

  • Cut climate pollution from transport by fixing public transport: Our Brissie Bus Boost, would double the number of high-frequency bus routes. It would make taking the bus between the suburbs not just possible, but convenient, reliable, and hassle-free. By making public transport a real option for thousands of people, we’re giving residents an easy way to cut down on tonnes of carbon and fine particulate emissions by leaving their cars at home. If people take up this option in droves, then we can redirect council resources away from building very carbon intensive and environmentally destructive new roads. 
  • Cut climate pollution from Council operations to zero by 2030: We would ensure that by 2030, all Council activities, buildings and vehicles (including subcontractor vehicles) will be powered by renewable energy sources. Where certain classes of heavy vehicle and specialist equipment cannot yet be replaced by electric or other zero emissions vehicles, the Council should implement alternative systems and processes that minimise the use of internal combustion engine vehicles.
  • Minimise the use of dodgy “carbon offsets” Purchasing carbon offsets to achieve the council’s goal of ‘net zero emissions’ should only be considered a last resort. Any required carbon offsets should be purchased domestically and subjected to rigorous scrutiny. 
  • Cut climate pollution from organic waste by prioritising and promoting localised food waste composting solutions on-site where food waste is produced, or in nearby locations in the surrounding neighbourhood, which do not require vehicular transport. Where localised food waste composting systems are not feasible, the council should expand existing trials to establish citywide residential food and organic waste (FOGO) collection services. 


Divest from fossil fuel investments 

We will also follow many other councils across this continent and divest entirely from fossil fuel investments, and from any other business or industry whose core activities cause significant environmental harm.

We would do this by auditing the council’s financial investments to make sure there’s no investment in environmentally harmful companies. Divestment would include all of the companies disqualified from tendering, but would also include companies that are involved in native forest logging, and high-impact projects close to sensitive ecosystems.


Ban fossil fuel advertising on Council infrastructure

A Greens-led council will ensure that no city council-controlled infrastructure or assets are used to advertise fossil fuel projects, companies or related industries. This includes (but is not limited to) restricting fossil fuel companies and industry groups from advertising on council-owned billboards, buses, ferries and bus shelters.

We would also explore refraining from advertising council services and initiatives via organisations that also take advertising revenue from fossil fuel companies, essentially forcing marketing and advertising organisations to choose between having Brisbane City Council as a client or having fossil fuel companies as clients.

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