August 3, 2016

Bass Coast Shire to shift $17m from coal, oil, and gas

Bass Coast Shire has made the unanimous decision during its last council meeting to move its investments away from fossil fuels.

Bass Coast Council is the 8th local government in Victoria and 25th in Australia to prioritise ethical investment and say goodbye to fossil fuels.

Cr Neil Rankine said the Bass Coast Shire is a progressive council and often ahead of the pack.

“Being a coastal council we are very aware of the impact of rising sea levels and increased storm flooding intensity and frequency,” Cr Rankine said. “Climate change is thus a big risk for us and so councillors requested a report from our finance and governance team on how we could divest our investments from institutions that fund fossil fuel projects, these being the big problem pushing climate change.”

“We have decided to bank our term investments with ‘ethical’ institutions. These are chosen, amongst other weighted criteria, on whether the institution funds fossil projects or not.

“It looks like our new ‘ethical investment’ will deliver a higher return on investment than we are currently receiving. I can see that as time goes by, more and more banks and other financial institutions will be going fossil free as they are realising that many fossil investments are turning into stranded assets, with value reducing and potentially falling off a cliff in the not too distant future.”

Bass Coast Shire joins more than 120 organisations around Australia, including universities, local government, and religious organisations that have moved their money out of fossil fuels.

“Local government and other organisations are increasingly seeing fossil fuels as a risky investment. The price of coal has plummeted and key importers of Australian coal, such as China and India are increasingly turning to renewables for their energy needs,” Australia divestment campaigner, Isaac Astill, said.

“The decision by Bass Coast to move their investments away from coal, oil, and gas also sends a strong moral message that investing in climate change is unacceptable. Let’s hope our elected representatives in Canberra look toward local governments across Australia who are getting on with the job of tackling climate change.”

In committing to divest, the Bass Coast Shire joins over 500 institutions worldwide, representing US$3.4 trillion. They include the Australian Capital Territory, City of Newcastle, and Melbourne Council, as well as the Universities of Oxford and Stanford.

Media contact:

Cambell Klose 0490 436 948