The Australian Greens are backing a call on Australians to use their customer power to shift the big banks investment decisions, which are contributing to the destruction of the Great Barrier Reef.
The report released today, Financing Reef Destruction: How Banks are using our Money to Destroy a Natural Icon, by Market Forces and 350.org, makes clear that the ‘big four’ Australian banks – ANZ, Commonwealth, NAB and Westpac – play a critical role in enabling major fossil fuel projects. Combined, these banks have lent $3.8 billion to coal ports and LNG terminals in the Great Barrier Reef Word Heritage Area since January 2008.
“The big four Australian banks – ANZ, Commonwealth, NAB and Westpac - are using the savings of Australians who care about the Great Barrier Reef to help the big mining companies threaten this World Heritage Area,” Greens Deputy Leader and banking spokesperson Adam Bandt said.
“Customers need to look at the facts on these investments and look at changing where they put their money. While the big four dominate the market, there are many small banks and financial intuitions which offer a competitive alternative. Customers have a lot of power if they walk down the road and tell the big four why.”
Queensland Senator Larissa Waters, Australian Greens environment spokesperson, said many Australians cared deeply about the Great Barrier Reef and wouldn’t want their banks buying into its destruction on their behalf.
“Polling this year shows 90 per cent of Australians think protecting the Great Barrier Reef is important – I expect many of the big four’s customers will be outraged by these revelations and I encourage them to contact their banks and stand up for the Great Barrier Reef.
“The Great Barrier Reef is under more pressure than ever before with big mining companies treating this seventh natural wonder of the world as a dumping ground for dredging and a shipping super highway.
“The World Heritage Committee has warned it could be added to its list of international sites in danger when it meets next month. This would be an international embarrassment and one that many Australians won’t want their bank to buy into with their personal savings,” Senator Waters said.