Bayswater turns off fossil fuels Kate Leaver
THE City of Bayswater will stop investing in financial institutions that support the fossil fuel industry, councillors decided last week.
The decision follows seven other Perth metropolitan councils, including WA’s biggest, the City of Stirling, that have divested money from fossil fuels.
While most of the councillors supported the move, Cr Brent Fleeton said he was concerned with a lack of community consultation and called out the “hypocrisy” of the plan.
“The cars we all drove here in utilise fossil fuels,” he said.
Cr Fleeton said divestment was “illogical and unethical” and did damage to the coal, oil and gas industries, which provided many jobs.
Amid applause from the public gallery, Cr John Rifici said the council needed to act on community concern about climate change and the fossil fuel industry.
“We need to think about our grandkids; not just about the jobs now but the generations to come,” he said. “The community is concerned and ready for change.”
Cr Sally Palmer said renewable energy sources, such as sun and wind power, needed to be considered and supported the divestment.
Cr Michelle Sutherland cited the use of renewable energy in SA and
said power was limited when “the sun doesn’t come out and the wind doesn’t blow”.
“People who want renewables and action on climate change also want lower prices for electricity,” she said. “Renewables will be a part of the future but we need to think about employment in the coal, oil and gas industries.”
Cr Chris Cornish said he was “philosophically opposed” to divesting ratepayer money and the council needed to be cautious with investments.
“What about banks then lending to Woolworths who fund pokies and gambling?” he asked.
“The risk of our deposits going pear-shaped is low, but stranger things have happened.”
Cr Catherine Ehrhardt said people were not prepared to watch politicians side with polluters.