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Labor Senators refuse to support Newcastle City Council's push for environmentally responsible investments

Media Release
Lee Rhiannon 9 Sep 2015

The Greens have expressed dismay that their Senate motion in support of Newcastle City Council's Environmentally and Socially Responsible Investment policy was voted down today by the Coalition and Labor.

Greens Senator for NSW Lee Rhiannon said: "It's a shame that federal Labor have failed to back their colleagues on Newcastle City Council in their moves to update the Council's Environmentally and Socially Responsible Investment policy.

"Labor and the Coalition need to decide - are they willing to stand up for a clean economy and the jobs of the future, or have they got their heads buried in the sand?"

"There was so much celebration when Newcastle City Council updated their investment policy with news headlines such as ‘Newcastle Council abandons fossil fuel investments' and ‘Newcastle, home of coal, joins fossil fuel divestment push'.

"Is Labor so beholden to the coal industry that they can't even congratulate their colleagues on Newcastle City Council for joining councils across NSW in adopting policies that promote Environmentally and Socially Responsible investment.

Greens Councillor and Deputy Lord Mayor Michael Osborne said: "It's disappointing the Senate has not supported a motion congratulating Newcastle City Council, but I am still proud that we have chosen to implement an investment policy that will drive a shift to an environmentally, socially and economically sound investment portfolio.

"Investing in our future - in everyone's future - means supporting a just transition away from yesterday's extraction economy and into tomorrow's growing sustainable industries.
"The time to diversify is now. A diverse economy is a strong, resilient economy that is more secure for everybody. Newcastle City Council's improved investment policy is timely and will facilitate the transition needed in the Hunter.

Brami Jegan for Lee Rhiannon 0487 350 880
Michael Osborne 0439 442 984

8 September 2015

I give notice that on the next day of sitting I shall move that -
The Senate -
a) Notes that:
(i) Newcastle City Council recently passed an update to its investment policies that notes Council's preference for Environmentally and Socially Responsible Investment, and notes reports that this policy will see the Council shift its investments away from coal and fossil fuels.
(ii) The decision has been heavily criticised by the Federal Minister for Industry and Science, despite warnings from scientists that Australia must act to stave off catastrophic climate change.
(iii) An opinion poll conducted after the Council's decision found that only one in four Newcastle residents think investing in coal is financially safe.

b) Congratulates Newcastle City Council on updating their investment policy and joining councils across NSW such as Lake Macquarie City Council, Willoughby Council, the City of Sydney, Marrickville Council, Leichardt Council and Lismore City Council in adopting policies regarding Environmentally and Socially Responsible investment.



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