September 2, 2015

Gloucester commits to divest from fossil fuels

SYDNEY, 2nd of September, 2015: Australia congratulates NSW’s Gloucester Shire Council for their decision to prohibit investments in fossil fuels from their $7 million portfolio. In addition to fossil fuels, Gloucester will also avoid investments in gambling, weapons, tobacco and products that are associated with abuses of human rights and exploitation.

Gloucester’s decision follows recent divestment announcement from Newcastle and the ACT. It is the 40th institution in Australia to divest, joining almost 400 institutions worldwide.

“Threatened by coal mines and gas wells, Gloucester is no stranger to the threat that fossil fuels pose to our communities. We commend the Gloucester community for their decision to divest from coal, oil and gas companies,” said Emma Giles, a Australia campaigner and longtime resident of the Hunter region.

AGL has plans to develop 330 coal seam gas wells in Gloucester. The company’s operations in Gloucester were suspended earlier this year after toxic fracking chemicals were discovered in the surrounding surface water.

“The Gloucester Shire Councillors should be applauded for standing up for our families. With 80 percent of Gloucester residents opposed to traditional gas and coal seam gas field expansion, the Council’s divestment policy is a reflection of the community’s priorities,” said Julie Lyford, Chair of Groundswell Gloucester. “Our community realises that fossil fuels are a thing of the past and investment in clean, renewable energy is the way of the future.”

“Fossil fuel companies like AGL are devastating rural communities like Gloucester. Whether it’s their impacts on land, water or climate, these companies have one thing in common and that’s putting profit ahead of people and the planet. It makes no sense to profit from this business model and that’s why divestment is so important,” added Giles.

Announcing the motion to divest, Gloucester Shire Councillor Aled Hoggett said:

“There is general scientific consensus that the vast majority of the world’s fossil fuel reserves cannot be burned if the world is to meet the internationally agreed climate commitments. Increasing innovation and implementation of renewable energy generation is also offering viable and advantageous alternatives to fossil fuels.”

“There’s simply no place for fossil fuels if we want a safe future. Gloucester’s decision places them alongside national and global leaders who are doing what it takes to move our economies and communities beyond the tyranny of fossil fuels,” concluded Giles.

**View the Gloucester Resolution on page 5 here.**