This week, the Albanese Government handed down the federal budget. Leading up to this moment, the ACF community and our allies across the movement have built huge momentum towards holding governments and big polluters to account for fuelling climate chaos and destroying nature.

A huge thank you to everyone who’s been part of these moments to ramp up pressure on decision-makers to do right by our precious places, wildife and communities. Making change is long and hard work, but by working together we’re achieving incredible things.

Read on for more on the impact we’re making together – and for a big boost of hope and action during these challenging times.

We rallied across the movement for Rise Up!

From 29 April to 10 May, we joined forces with Move Beyond Coal, the Australian Youth Climate Coalition, and GetUp to convey three key demands for the Albanese Government:

  • No more coal and gas
  • End to coal, oil and gas handouts
  • Strong nature laws, now!

Together we turned out thousands of people at over 90 different actions speaking up for our climate, nature and communities. With a federal election expected within the next 12 months, and climate destruction getting worse by the day, Rise Up was our moment to show the government just how powerful our movement for climate action really is.

A powerful wave of action

Major Rise Up actions swept across every capital city. Hundreds gathered in Brisbane, Adelaide, Hobart, Sydney, Darwin, Perth and Melbourne and we finished with Pacific Climate Warriors bringing the demand for no more coal and gas right to the lawns of Parliament House in Canberra.

Over 300 people flocked to Brisbane Rise Up.

We took this message straight to the offices of key government decision-makers – Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, Deputy Prime Minister Richard Marles, Treasurer Jim Chalmers and Resources Minister Madeleine King to name just a few.

As well as the major-city rallies, people rose up all over Australia at more than 80+ powerful local actions at the offices of elected representatives in the Albanese Government. ACF Community groups and our friends in the movement mobilised to make our presence felt in over 40 electorates. With so many actions across every state and territory, it was simply impossible for the Albanese Government to ignore our united demands.

Rise Up image compilation

There were over 90 Rise Up events across the Country! Clockwise from top left: Jagajaga, Geelong, Brand, Bendigo.

Check out Move Beyond Coal's Flickr album for more photos of powerful Rise Up actions.

Time to end coal, oil and gas handouts

One of our key demands called on the government to finally stop handing out billions of dollars of public money to polluting fossil fuel industries. In the 2023–24 Budget, the federal government gave out a staggering $11.8 billion to fossil fuel producers and major consumers. Ahead of this year’s Federal Budget (which was handed down this week), we teamed up with our friends at GetUp to deliver a combined petition direct to Treasurer Jim Chalmers’ office in Queensland letting him know that 83,500 people want to see an end to these unacceptable handouts once and for all.

Petition delivery to Jim Chalmers' office

ACF and GetUp members deliver huge petition to stop handouts to coal and gas.

In the week prior, we also joined ten organisations from across the energy, environment and social service sectors and released a joint statement calling on our government to abolish the $1.5 billion Fuel Tax Credit handout to coal, oil and gas. We should be actively transitioning away from these industries, not propping them up with the assistance of billions of dollars of public money.

Rising up against the government’s plan for climate chaos

Last Thursday we were hit with some devastating news; the Albanese Government released their Future Gas Strategy plan to open up dangerous new gas fields and continue to burn and export climate-wrecking gas well beyond 2050. It’s a blueprint for climate disaster and cannot be allowed to proceed.

Rise Up quickly moved into action, ramping up the pressure on the Albanese Government by mobilising people across the country to rally outside government MP offices and send the message that our energy future must not include new gas. Meanwhile, incredible ACF community members sent a thousand emails to the PM and Treasurer and made hundreds of calls to the Treasurer’s office – filling up their mailboxes and message banks with our anger, concern and frustration.

Are you ready to Rise Up?

With the Great Barrier Reef having just faced its fifth mass bleaching event in 9 years and hundreds of the world’s leading climate scientists expecting global temperatures to rise at least 2.5C above preindustrial levels this century – it is clear that the time for climate action is now.

This means no more coal and gas approvals or handouts and the creation of strong nature laws that requires governments to consider whether projects are bad for the climate as part of the assessment process.

We leveraged investor pressure to stand up to Woodside’s climate-wrecking gas

This year we’ve also ramped up our efforts to challenge the biggest Aussie-owned polluter, Woodside Energy. To do this, we had to think boldly and find a way to influence what happens in Woodside’s boardroom and their Annual General Meeting (AGM).

The answer? Our superannuation funds! They’re often among the biggest shareholders in companies so have major sway over corporate decisions and direction-setting. And best of all, the funds are influenced by their members: this means that nearly all of us could play a big role in influencing their actions.

People protest outside AustralianSuper office in Melbourne

Community members at an early morning action outside Australian Super's headquarters, Melbourne. 

We supported members of the community to pressure over 20 superannuation funds to declare that they would vote against Woodside’s chairperson and their climate plan at their AGM in late April.

One super fund broke ranks thanks to public pressure: Aware Super announced that they would not support chairperson Richard Goyder or Woodside’s climate plan. This created a buzz across media outlets and will make it easier for funds to predeclare their voting intentions in the future.

More than 10,000 people signed an open letter to the funds demanding they hold the polluting companies they invest in accountable for their climate damage. Hundreds of people sent us selfies to include in the Australian Financial Review newspaper and elevate this solution.

Super funds open letter

Super funds open letter.

The open letter was hand-delivered by members to AusSuper, the Australian Retirement Trust, Aware Super, Rest, HostPlus, and GESB.

This all culminated into some fun actions outside key super fund offices that called for positive climate action at Woodside’s AGM. Watch video of super funds week of action:

And we had more boots on the ground at the Woodside AGM in Perth where chanting, singing, and a band of drummers kept us in good spirits as investors of Woodside were voting on the future of this climate-wrecking company.

Protest outside Woodsides Annual General Meeting

Protest outside Woodside's Annual General Meeting.

We made incredible progress in bringing about change at Woodside's Annual General Meeting, where a historic vote of 16.6% against Chairperson Richard Goyder was recorded. Board chairs are almost always elected with 97% or more votes in their favour, so a vote of 16.6% against Chairperson Richard Goyder was historical and sends a clear message.

We also saw Woodside suffer the largest backlash against their climate strategy of any fossil fuel company in the world with 58.36% of shareholders showing their dissatisfaction with Woodside's plan – the first time that a company has ever lost majority support over climate, beating the previous record by nearly 10%.

This is the largest vote against a company’s climate strategy ever – not just in Australia, but in the world!

This means that a review of their gas developments is something the board must now consider, with the Chair commenting they will have to reflect on what the vote means for their strategy.

We've shown that when we come together with a shared purpose, we can impact what happens in the boardrooms of fossil fuel giants. There is no longer any place of power that is unreachable by us.

We got big wins for nature and climate in Queensland

After years of campaigning to save Toondah Harbour, we WON! Walker Corporation withdrew their nature-wrecking proposal after Environment Minister Tanya Plibersek announced her draft decision to reject it. Read more about this incredible people-powered win!

We also saw bipartisan support for a new 75% emissions reduction target for Queensland by 2035. This comes after years of campaigning with allies in Queensland for strong climate action. Congratulations to all involved, over many years!

Our planet on the line

The next federal election is expected within twelve months, and we have a big job to build on this momentum in 2024 to demand better from governments and businesses.

We must call out The Albanese Government's stubborn spruiking of polluting gas and their dithering on delivering their promise of strong nature laws that stop the bulldozers and end extinction.

It's communities across Australia that are the first to bear the brunt of heatwaves, floods, and fires, and mourn the destruction of Australia's forests, reefs and wildlife. 

So we will continue to rise up against inaction and half-measures that allow polluters to rob our future for their profits today. Thanks for reading through, for speaking up, and I look forward to coming together with you for people and nature again soon! 


Phoebe Rountree

Mobilisation Coordinator at Australian Conservation Foundation