October 29, 2015

Ignored residents call out the Future Fund for blind fossil fuel investments

(MELBOURNE)– Farmers gripped by the creep of fossil fuel expansion joined dozens of local Melbourne residents outside the offices of the Future Fund to protest against its fossil fuel investments. The Future Fund, Australia’s $117 billion sovereign wealth fund, has refused to meet with farmers whose livelihoods are directly affected by the fossil fuel companies it invests in.

Together with her husband Derek, Kirrily Blomfield operates a 980 hectare beef cattle grazing farm in northern NSW and was the 2014 NSW Farmer of the Year.

“Our land is directly threatened by the massive proposed Caroona Coal mine, owned by BHP – a company that the Future Fund has almost $1 billion invested in,” said Kirrily Blomfield.

Over two months ago the, the Blomfields requested a meeting with the Future Fund to discuss its fossil fuel investments, but after several attempts the couple was refused a meeting.

“Those of us in the farming industry have a responsibility to feed Australian families. But we are under increased pressure as coal and gas companies devour some of Australia’s best farmland and precious water supplies. Food and fossil fuels do not mix. Despite what the coal companies say, we cannot co-exist,” said Blomfield.

Jacinta Morahan, a health practitioner from Anglesea, was involved in the effort to retire the coal-fired power plant in her community because of the pollution and health problems plaguing local residents.

“Burning coal creates large quantities of carbon pollution, which causes asthma, lung disease, heart attacks, stroke and premature death,” said Jacinta Morahan.

“The Future Fund responded to community pressure by divesting from tobacco in 2013. It’s time for them to do the same for fossil fuels. Like tobacco, fossil fuels ruin community health,” said Morahan.

Whilst the Future Fund continues to invest in companies that profit from climate disruption, over 450 institutions across the globe have committed to moving their investments away from coal, oil and gas.

Massive funds like the $1.15 trillion Norwegian Sovereign Wealth Fund and the US’ largest pension fund CALPERs have committed to divest from coal. Just this week, the National Tertiary Education Union, the Australian Academy of Science and the City of Melbourne have committed to fossil free investing, joining over 450 institutions globally.

Contact: Krista Collard, 0424 712 034, krista@350.org.au