A report in 2013* identified the ‘Big Four’ Australian banks – Commonwealth, NAB, ANZ and Westpac – as the heaviest lenders to coal and gas export projects in the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area.
The report sparked a call for Australians to abandon these banks if they continue to invest in fossil fuel mines and exports. The projects include gas exports, mines, overland transport and export terminals, all leading to a massive increase in fossil fuel exports along the Great Barrier Reef coastline.
Not only do these loans and these projects place the Great Barrier Reef in jeopardy, they also threaten the stability of the world’s climate.
Since 2008, Westpac alone has loaned close to $3 billion to the fossil fuel industry, including projects such as the Hazelwood coal power station, the Maules Creek Coal mine, and coal and gas export ports in the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area.
Customers have been warning Westpac to stop lending to these dirty industries for months or they will move their money elsewhere.
*The report, Financing Reef Destruction: How Banks are using our Money to Destroy a Natural Icon, by Market Forces and 350.org, found that the four banks have played a critical role in enabling major fossil fuel projects, lending a combined $3.8 billion to coal ports and LNG terminals in the Barrier Reef area alone since January 2008.
You can withdraw your money from the Big Four. There are two valid options for your banking in Castlemaine – mecu and the Bendigo Bank – that do not lend money to fossil fuel projects.
Speak to the managers: at least one of them has a system in place to help people divest and to set up their periodical payments.
Ask for a quote, and how to transfer a mortgage. Look at interest rates, ask if any costs will be waived, look at their specials.
Outside of Castlemaine other options are available.
“Smart investors can see that investing in companies that rely solely or heavily on constantly replenishing reserves of fossil fuels is becoming a very risky decision.”
Professor Lord Stern
Apart from the moral and environmental equations, investing in fossil fuels is fast becoming a risky financial proposition, yet many Australian superannuation funds still invest heavily in fossil fuel projects.
Securing a safe climate means that 80% of current fossil fuel reserves must remain in the ground.
Australia stands on the verge of a fossil fuel expansion that would jeopardise the possibility of containing global warming to below 2C above pre-industrial levels – a key marker for the prospects of a safe climate for future generations to enjoy.
Tell your Super fund to divest, or move to a Super fund that invests ethically.
Don’t let your money wreck the planet’s climate.