Answers to Questions on Notice provided to Greens Senator Barbara Pocock show the publicly owned Future Fund is invested heavily in those very companies that threaten Australia’s future, with a total $3.4 billion in the biggest polluting companies in the world.
In Senate estimates, Senator Pocock pressured the Future Fund to use its shareholding power to force the coal, oil and gas companies it invests in to diversify away from selling planet-destroying products.
Pocock questioned the Future Fund about its discussions with Rio Tinto over the destruction of Juukan Gorge, arguing that there is nothing stopping the Fund from similarly engaging directly, or through their fund managers, with coal, oil and gas corporations making record profits from climate destroying activities.
Further, the Government’s Disaster Ready Bill, currently before the Senate, will use proceeds from the Future Fund to pay for infrastructure to ‘mitigate’ climate damage. But at $200 million a year, when the cost to protect us from storm surges alone is $600 million a year, there is a huge gap between what is needed and what is offered.
And there is a deep irony in the government relying on dividends from the world’s biggest polluters to pay for infrastructure to deal with the escalating damage those very same companies are causing through their fossil fuel investments.
Quotes from Senator Pocock:
“The Future Fund is invested in companies that have absolutely no intention to diversify away from coal and gas, with $549 million directly invested in Woodside, $190 million in Santos and $83 million in Whitehaven.
“The government’s Disaster Ready Bill is proposing only a third of the climate infrastructure funding we need to keep Australians safe from natural disasters, all the while investing billions into the same greedy corporations driving climate destruction and Australia’s natural disasters.
“These Australian companies need all the pressure the Future Fund can bring to bear on them and if the Fund doesn't intend to do that, the Labor government must direct a sell off of that stock and send a message that the Future Fund’s focus is on a safe and secure future.
“While Australia is attending COP27 to mitigate against climate disaster, and is asking the world to let us host a climate summit, our government is sinking money into the world’s biggest polluters.
“If the Future Fund is entrusted with paying for the public works needed to keep Australian communities safe from floods, fires, storm surges and cyclones moving south - then it needs to stop profiting from those companies making these natural disasters worse. ”
Questions on Notice and Answers
Table of Investments