Climate activists disrupt WA Fringe launch

Climate protesters have disrupted the launch of the annual FringeWorld festival in Perth.
Climate protesters have disrupted the launch of the annual FringeWorld festival in Perth.

Climate activists have disrupted the launch of Perth's fringe festival, calling on organisers to sever ties with a major sponsor over its environmental impact.

Several protesters took the stage during the FringeWorld launch on Thursday night, taking aim at the festival's partnership with Woodside Energy.

The activists were allowed to speak and received some applause from the crowd but were later removed from the venue.

They hope to persuade FringeWorld not to renew its partnership with Woodside when it expires in 2021.

"Our art cannot be used to provide legitimacy and public relations to a fossil fuel corporation," performer and activist Noemie Huttner-Koros said.

FringeWorld chief Sharon Burgess said she respected their right to protest but the focus should be on the artists and performers.

Australia's largest listed oil and gas producer, Woodside is working towards developing the $30 billion Browse LNG project about 400km north of Broome which is tipped to be among the nation's biggest polluters.

Mining and resources companies have a history of supporting the arts in Western Australia.

Another major oil and gas producer, Chevron, is a longstanding sponsor of the Perth International Arts Festival.

A Woodside spokeswoman said the fringe festival brought vibrancy to Perth.

"Woodside is proud of our long-standing association with such a fabulous summer event, which includes the Homegrown Heroes program, shining a light on Western Australian talent, and the Ngurra Nyingu art exhibition, showcasing artists of the West Pilbara," she said.

Australian Associated Press