Canberra Times: Santos ends Darwin Festival sponsorship

October 19, 2022 10:27 AM

Gas company Santos has ended its sponsorship of the Darwin Festival following a campaign by environmental activists and traditional owners.

Santos had supported the public arts event for almost 30 years, but with its contract up for renewal after the 2022 event in August it told festival organisers at a meeting on Tuesday that it would end the deal.

"We feel this is a natural conclusion point for the partnership. We are very proud of our commitment to the Northern Territory and our contribution to the community," Santos said in a letter to festival board chair Ian Kew supplied to AAP.

The board has issued a statement thanking Santos for its support, particularly of the opening night concert for which the company had naming rights.

It has also met with traditional owners and activist group Fossil Free Arts NT to discuss a $200,000 philanthropic sponsorship offer, made on the condition future fossil fuel sponsorships are ruled out and opening night naming rights are transferred to the Larrakia Nation.

The director of the McKinnon Family Foundation Sue McKinnon is among the philanthropists making the offer, and said "Santos has jumped to avoid being dumped".

"Santos has read the writing on the wall and knows the Darwin community will no longer tolerate using sponsorship to try and improve their dirty reputation," she said in a statement.

Read more here.

By Liz Hobday
Updated October 19 2022 - 11:48am, first published 11:47am