Bayswa­ter turns off fossil fu­els Kate Leaver

Eastern Reporter - - Front Page -

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.

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