November 27, 2015

Ballina Shire Council divests from fossil fuels

Divestment strengthens Northern Rivers anti-CSG movement

(SYDNEY) — Australia applauds the Ballina Shire Council’s vote to divest its $69,289,000 funds under management from coal, gas, and oil this week, making it the 15th council in Australia to make the move.

The community in Northern Rivers has been pushing back against unpopular coal seam gas (CSG) drilling in the area, turning CSG into a defining 2015 election issue which resulted in a first time win for the Greens in Ballina with the election of MP Tamara Smith.

“Ballina’s divestment decision is another clear-cut example of how people living with fossil fuel extraction at their doorstep reject any involvement with the industry — both physically and financially,” said Isaac Astill, a divestment campaigner with Australia.

“It is highly appropriate for Ballina Council to take a leadership role in this matter due to our location in a low lying coastal floodplain. Sea level rise and global warming are expected to have a devastating impact on our community unless greenhouse gas emissions are dramatically reduced over the next 10- 20 years,” said Cr. Jeff Johnson

“By divesting our investments from institutions that fund the activities that are likely to exacerbate global warming, Ballina Council will not only be taking a positive leadership role but in doing so would be encouraging other Council’s and institutions to also follow suit,” added Cr Johnson.

As momentum for local governments to divest grows, the fossil free movement is escalating globally. Approximately 493 institutions have committed to divesting, equating to well over $US2.6 trillion of money invested. In the past 12 months, major institutions such as the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, one of the world’s largest insurance companies Allianz, and the Norwegian Sovereign Wealth Fund, have committed to divest.

Contact: Krista Collard, 0424 712 034

The full divestment motion can be found on Page 122 here.