Financial companies that succumb to anti-mining activism should be questioned and face possible regulatory action, an industry advocate has warned.
The federal government is cracking down on banks and superannuation providers that work with protestors to deprive funding for major coal projects.
Federal Resources Minister Keith Pitt has asked the Joint Standing Committee on Trade and Investment Growth to hold an inquiry into the financial sector’s treatment of resources and other Australian export industries.
Climate change blamed
The announcement came after the activists convinced 200 QSuper and Sunsuper members to sign an open letter that urges fund providers to withdraw all super invested in thermal coal, because burning fossil fuels creates carbon emissions that theoretically could influence long-term weather patterns.
“The Conservation Council says around 200 members have written to the funds calling on them to stop investing in coal, which is about 0.01 per cent of QSuper and Sunsuper’s combined membership,” Pitt said according to Momentum Media.
“To deprive over 1.88 million other members of solid investment returns on the whim of a relative few and the ideological motives of the Conservation Council is farcical.”
1.2 million jobs
Pitt hopes making super funds answer for the actions will deter them from defunding mines, and deliver greater certainty to an estimated 260,000 Australians who are directly employed across the whole industry plus a further 1 million workers whose livelihoods depend on mining.
“It is of great concern to me that a legitimate industry like coal mining, which makes a significant contribution to the national economy and employs thousands of Australians, is being held back by what can only be described as corporate activism,” he said in a public statement.
“They deserve better than to miss out on further opportunities as a result of ideologically driven activism.”
The minister revealed many mining service providers have been penalised simply for working in the industry.
“People like David Hartigan in Mackay, whose company Field Engineers provides technical support to the mining sector, is facing a 300 per cent increase in his insurance bill,” he said in a public statement.
He believes a lot more coal mining jobs would be advertised if climate change activism did not exist.
“There are currently over 70 proposals for new coal mines – or expansion of existing ones – that are at various stages of planning and development,” he said.
“The new projects currently being planned can add thousands more jobs to that number.”
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