Lismore City Council will put its money where its mouth by refusing to back institutions investing in fossil fuels such as coal seam gas.
The decision makes it just the fourth council in Australia, and the second in NSW to take such a stand.
Cr Simon Clough was successful with a motion last week to give preference to financial institutions that do not invest in fossil fuel.
‘Councillors are aware of the strong stand this council took against unconventional gas drilling and associated activities in this local government area,’ he said.
‘Lismore council has been at the forefront of the recycling and recovery field and through its Renewable Energy Master Plan has committed to partnering with the community to become independent of the electricity grid over the next eight years.
‘In this context it makes absolute sense for Lismore City Council to monitor the investment of its funds to ensure that the investment is compliant with council’s investment policy; and that the investment rate of interest is favorable.
Cr Clough said fossil fuel free investments were listed on the Market Forces website found at http://www.marketforces.org.au/banks/compare.
Not all councillors agreed with the move.
Cr Greg Bennett said Australia’s financial strength came about as a result of mining and agriculture.
He said without the income from coal and natural gas from the north west shelf the country would not have its current standard of living.
Cr Isaac Smith said however that the council could show its leadership by concentrating its investments in renewable industries.
‘Reports show that renewable industries will provide double the employment than the traditional mining industries,’ he said.
Cr Gianpiero Battista said the majority of people in the region had made it clear they wanted nothing to do with the coal seam gas industry.
He said the strength of the region was in its beautiful environment and productive agricultural lands, and an ‘industry like CSG would compromise these strengths’.
‘Everything we do should promote our wishes to be fossil fuel free.’
All councillors supported the move towards fossil free investments except Crs Bennett, Graham Meineke and Neil Marks.