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Simple question for Westpac: “Will you fund Galilee Basin coal projects?”

5 May 2017

Matt Canavan, Minister for Resources and Northern Australia, has called on Westpac to answer a simple question: “Will you fund coal projects in Queensland’s Galilee Basin?”

Minister Canavan has repeated his statement that Westpac’s new policy on funding coal mines discriminates against Queensland, despite a denial by Westpac.

A Westpac spokesman was reported in Townsville today as saying that: “ … we have lifted the standard of the type of coal we will fund. This applies across the group and it would be wrong to suggest it is about favouring one state or region over the other.”

However, Minister Canavan said this claim directly contradicted Westpac’s recently-released policy on climate change.

“Westpac’s policy specifically states ‘For new thermal coal proposals we will limit lending to any new thermal coal mines or projects … to only existing coal producing basins.’

“This was even highlighted in a Westpac media release on April 28, which stated ‘Financing for any new thermal coal projects (will be) limited to existing coal-producing basins.

“The Galilee Basin is not currently a coal-producing basin and so clearly future projects there would not be considered eligible for funding by Westpac.

“This means Westpac would fund new coal mines in existing coal-producing regions like the Hunter Valley in New South Wales but would not fund new coal mines in developing regions like the Galilee Basin, despite the fact a number of coal deposits there meet Westpac’s new ‘standard for the type of coal we will fund’.

“That absolutely discriminates against Queensland.

“So, Westpac should forget about the PR spin and answer a simple question in black and white for all Queenslanders to see: would Westpac fund new coal projects in the Hunter Valley in New South Wales but not in the Galilee Basin in Queensland? Yes or no?

“Then, Queenslanders can decide whether or not Westpac is discriminating against them and against the opportunity to benefit from the thousands of new jobs and hundreds of millions of dollars a year in royalties that would flow from development of coal mines in the Galilee Basin.”

Media contacts: Senator Canavan's office 02 6277 7180

Note: Links to the Westpac statements –

https://www.westpac.com.au/about-westpac/media/media-releases/2017/28-april/

https://www.westpac.com.au/content/dam/public/wbc/documents/pdf/aw/sustainability/WestpacCCEActionPlan.pdf