Sydney, 18th March 2015: Two NSW councils have voted to divest from fossil fuel investments, reflecting increasing community opposition to coal and coal seam gas expansion in NSW in the lead up to the state election. Lismore Council in the Northern Rivers district and Leichhardt Council in Sydney’s progressive inner-west have this week become the latest councils to join the growing fossil fuel divestment movement which is sweeping the globe.
On Tuesday, Leichhardt Council voted to completely divest its investments from financial institutions that fund the fossil fuel industry within three years, pending a successful review after the first 12 months.
Mayor Rochelle Porteous said the vote for divestment was close to : “All Greens, Labor and Liberal Councillors voted for divestment, which shows the strong support it has across Council and within the community.
“Leichhardt Council continues to show strong leadership in sustainability, protecting the environment and tackling climate change. In my last term as Mayor, Leichhardt Council became the second council in NSW to become carbon neutral and won the prestigious Local Government Excellence in the Environment Award. Leichhardt Council’s decision to divest its investments from financial institutions that fund the fossil fuel industry is a further step in the right direction,” continued Cr Porteous.
Similarly Lismore Council voted on the 10th March to preference financial institutions that do not invest in or finance the fossil fuel industry.
Said Councillor Simon Clough: “Lismore Council has taken a strong stand against unconventional gas drilling in this local government area. Council has been at the forefront of the recycling and recovery field and through its Renewable Energy Master Plan has committed to partnering with the community to become independent of the electricity grid over the next 8 years. It would be contradictory for Council to on the one hand seek to reduce greenhouse gases through all these actions and on the other invest in their production with its investment policy.”
Coal seam gas expansion has become a major issue in the NSW election with Opposition leader Luke Foley pledging to suspend all exploration permits in NSW if Labor wins the election, and the Coalition has cancelled a number of licenses issued by the previous government.
“Australians are fed up with the fossil fuel industry digging and drilling wherever they want with no respect for our land, water, and climate. It’s inspiring to see politicians at a state and local level paying attention to the concerns of their constituents. The fact that leadership is being taken at a local level is a clear response to the lack of political foresight on a national scale,” said Isaac Astill, Divestment Campaigner for 350.org Australia.
350.org is an international climate change movement dedicated to resolving the climate change crisis. Visit www.350.org.au for further information.
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