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Communities call on banks to cease funding for fossil fuel projects

Farmers, Traditional Owners, and community groups will denounce banks’ support of fossil fuel projects that are having a devastating impact on regional Australia as three of the big four financial institutions hold their annual general meetings in the coming days.

Gomeroi Traditional Owner Karra Kinchela said it was unethical for banks like NAB and Westpac to financially support Whitehaven Coal.

“Whitehaven wants to expand its Narrabri Underground coal mine beneath the sacred Pilliga Forest. We can’t let this happen.

“NAB and Westpac’s Sydney and Melbourne based bank bosses are just as guilty as Whitehaven bosses are when it comes to wrecking Gomeroi Country.

“Whitehaven and the banks that support it are stealing water and tearing apart the land. Westpac and NAB customers need to know about the destruction that’s happening in the Namoi.”

Boggabri farmer Sally Hunter will also take aim at NAB and Westpac over the banks' continued involvement with Whitehaven, which has a long rap sheet of environmental crimes committed at its Namoi Valley coal mines.

“Whitehaven has been fined, prosecuted, or warned for more than 40 serious offences at its coal mines in the Namoi,” she said.

A list of Whitehaven Coal’s offences committed in the Namoi since 2012 is available here

“Thanks to weak environmental laws, small-change penalties have so far failed to put a stop to Whitehaven’s dangerous behaviour,” Mrs Hunter said.

“NAB and Westpac need to know that their financial support of this coal-mining vandal is facilitating the destruction of farmland and groundwater that so many in this district rely on.”

Oakey Coal Action Alliance secretary Paul King will condemn the decisions by both ANZ and NAB to lend to New Hope for its New Acland Stage 3 coal mine.

“The expansion of the New Acland coal mine has all but destroyed the town of Acland. These banks are complicit in this destruction and should be held accountable," he said.

“Mining may have paused at New Acland for the moment while we await the Land Court’s decision, but we cannot risk allowing it to restart. 

“Businesses, farmland, and the very social fabric of the Darling Downs is at stake.

“The Darling Downs community calls on all financial institutions to refuse granting any more loans to New Acland parent company New Hope.”

Dirty lending:

  • In February 2020, NAB contributed $110 million to Whitehaven’s corporate loan syndicate. 

  • Westpac also loaned $110 million to Whitehaven’s syndicate in 2020.

  • In December 2018, ANZ and NAB were among lenders that provided $600 million to New Hope for purposes including the proposed New Acland Stage 3 coal mine.

Westpac will hold its AGM today (15/12), ANZ tomorrow (16/12) and NAB Friday (17/12)


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