14 December 2013
One hundred ANZ customers have closed their accounts in activities across Australia, protesting the bank’s role as the country’s leading lender to the fossil fuel industry. In Melbourne, Canberra, Adelaide, Perth, Sydney, Hobart and Brisbane, customers lined up outside the banks wearing t-shirts saying “ANZ chose fossil fuels, so I chose another bank” and as the branches opened, one by one closed their accounts. It comes after Melbourne ANZ customers divested in October and Commonwealth Bank customers closed their accounts on mass around Australia in November.
These activities took place just days before ANZ’s annual general meeting, to be held in Brisbane on the 18th of December. As shareholders prepare to learn of the bank’s financial fortunes, their customers are abandoning the bank in droves over ANZ’s continued multi-billion dollar investments in coal and gas.
Market Forces will be at the ANZ AGM to make sure the issues of fossil fuel investments and climate risk are raised with the bank’s board and management. Members of the public can join Market Forces, 350.org, Greenpeace and Quit Coal on the 18th of December at the AGM in Brisbane and a sister event at ANZ’s Melbourne head office calling on the bank to end fossil fuel investments.
The role of the big banks in the proposed coal and gas expansion in Australia just got a lot more important. This week, the Federal Government approved two massive new fossil fuel projects – a coal export terminal at Abbot Point and a gas liquifecation plant on Curtis Island. Both projects are based in the Great Barrier Reef and will only put this natural icon in greater jeopardy, while continuing to increase greenhouse gas emissions at a time when the world’s carbon budget is almost already exhausted. Meanwhile, the ANZ-sponsored Maules Creek coal mine in Northern New South Wales is continuing to have work halted as activists blockade the site, defending the Leard State Forest and all those who would suffer from the increased greenhouse gas emissions if this dirty project gets built.