Thursday, September 03, 2015

Adanis' Australian coalmining project: Another top bank withdraws, indiginous people "rejoice"

By Our Representative
Following the announcement by the Commonwealth Bank to withdraw from financing the powerful Indian Adani Group’s controversial Australian coalmining project, the National Australia Bank (NAB) has declared it too is “withdrawing.” The National Australia Bank has announced that it will “not fund Adani’s Australian Carmichael coal mine project”, a highly placed source in Australia said.
Welcoming the NAB’s decision, the lead spokesperson of the Wangan and Jagalingou (W&J) Traditional Owners Family Council, representing traditional owners Galilee Basin, where the project is proposed, has said, the NAB has ruled out “any involvement, now or in the future, in financing this disastrous project”.
“Today, NAB has acted with moral authority and in accordance with the principles of corporate social responsibility to which it is signatory. Its decision brings this disastrous project one step closer to its demise”, W&J spokesperson Adrian Burragubba said. “Our Council is deeply heartened.”
“NAB’s announcement comes one day after the W&J leaders met with senior officials and the Indigenous programme leader from the bank. “It was clear in our meeting that this corporate giant has a meaningful grasp of the fact that the W&J Council opposes Carmichael, and that, crucially, the project does not have the free, prior and informed consent of our people”, the spokesperson said.
“The bank had clearly done its due diligence. It understood that we have rejected a land use agreement with Adani for the mine, and that no means no”, the spokesperson said, adding, “The meeting reinforced for our people that our moral claim to exercise our rights in relation to our traditional lands is recognised by responsible businesses”.
So far, as many as 10 international banks, including Adani’s former chief financier for Carmichael, Standard Chartered, have withdrawn from the project.
Meanwhile, the W&J Council has decided to call on the remaining two of Australia’s big four banks – Westpac and ANZ – which have not ruled out funding, “to confirm without delay they will not support the Carmichael coal mine with finance”, the spokesman said.
“Only two of Australia’s big 4 banks now remain on the wrong side of history. We are convinced that when they examine the Carmichael project and see its lack of economic viability, its destruction of the environment, and the cost to our rights, culture and our sacred ancestral lands and waters, they can only reach the same conclusion as their peers – to definitely walk away from the project”, the spokesperson claimed.
The Federal Court of Australia last month set aside approval of the mine by Federal Environment Minister Greg Hunt, who will now need to review his decision on the mine. “We look forward to our day in Federal Court this month, as we bring our own challenge against Carmichael”, the spokesperson said.
We confirm, again, that we will do everything in our power to stop this mine ripping the heart out of our country, including, if necessary taking our case to the highest court in the land”, said Burragubba.
Yet, the spokesperson regrets, “It is bizarre and troubling that the Queensland province and Federal governments persist in their support for the Adani Carmichael project. They should heed the message of the NAB, the Commonwealth Bank, and a roll call of international banks and investors and recognise that Adani’s mine is at a dead end in history.”
“The future does not lie in the destruction of Aboriginal culture, the devastation of the environment, and the fueling of dangerous climate change”, he said. “It is time for Australian Governments to chart a sensible course on energy and development, cancel this project, to leave our lands and waters alone”.

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