ANZ awarded Australia’s biggest lender to Great Barrier Reef-destroying coal and gas

Brisbane, 2 May 2013

Activists have rebranded an ANZ branch in Brisbane’s CBD, awarding it “Australia’s #1 lender to dirty coal and gas projects in the Great Barrier Reef”. The action comes as a new Market Forces / 350.org report: Financing Reef Destruction: How Banks are using our Money to Destroy a Natural Icon. The report names the heaviest lending banks to coal and gas export terminals in the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area over the past five years.

ANZ leads the ‘big four’ banks, which lent a combined $3.8 billion to coal ports and liquefied natural gas processing plants within the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area since 2008. Individually, the big Australians banks lent the following amounts: ANZ ($1.12 bn), Commonwealth ($1.02 bn), Westpac ($905 mil) and NAB (791 mil).

Activists are in front of the ANZ office on the corner of Queen and Creek Streets, Brisbane, distributing copies of the report to customers and encouraging them to call on the bank to rule out future loans to new coal and gas mining or export projects. In the background, the branch’s shopfront is covered by a 4m2 sign containing the award of biggest dirty coal and gas lender.

“Australians rightly care about the Great Barrier Reef and want to see it protected long into the future,” said Julien Vincent, Market Forces Lead Campaigner. “It is unacceptable for the big banks to use Australians’ money to bankroll projects that are threatening the Reef’s health and driving climate change closer to a point of no return.”

Market Forces is calling on customers of the major banks to give them an ultimatum: either the bank immediately stops lending to new coal and gas mining, transport and export projects and adopts a policy by the end of the year that rules out further loans to these projects, the customer will close their account and take their money elsewhere.

“We’re calling on the banks to demonstrate leadership and responsibility by ruling out future loans to new coal and gas export projects. If they fail to do this, then we will be asking customers to take their money to a bank that won’t destroy the Reef.

“At the very least, this will give Australians peace of mind that their bank account isn’t helping to finance Reef-destroying fossil fuel projects. But we hope this stimulates a positive reaction from the banks”, said Mr Vincent.

Action location: ANZ Office, 324 Queen St, Brisbane (corner Queen and Creek streets)

Report available at: www.marketorces.org.au/banks/financing-reef-destruction

Photos available from: http://on.fb.me/ZSGlnJ