A range of community groups and trade unions marched for climate justice at 14 locations around Australia on February 22. The largest rallies were in Sydney and Melbourne with about 5-7000 people marching in each city. Some 20,000 people mobilised around the country.
The rallies in capital cities and some regional centres were coordinated by the newly-formed Climate Justice Alliance and supported by a range of organisations including unions, School Strike 4 Climate and Extinction Rebellion.
The protests had four key demands to keep Australia on track to stay under 1.5 degrees Celsius.
1. 100% renewable and publicly-owned energy by 2030;
2. No new fossil fuel projects and an end to subsidies to these industries;
3. Funding for firefighters and fire-affected communities; and
4. First Nations justice, including funding indigenous land management to repair ecosystems.
Some cities introduced state-specific demands, such as the Walyalup Climate Action Network’s call to stop the Burrup Hub, end the $21 billion annual subsidy to the fossil fuel industry and build the Fremantle wind farm.
Indigenous and union speakers were prominent, as were union contingents from the nurses and midwives, the Maritime Union of Australia, the Electrical Trades Union, the National Tertiary Education Union, the Community and Public Sector Union, the United Workers Union and state-based fire fighter unions.
Activist groups are organising mass climate protests for May, including a May 1 union protest in Sydney, an XR Autumn Rebellion from May 2 and the next School Strike 4 Climate strike on May 15.