19 June 2014 — Royal Bank of Scotland has joined Deutsche Bank and HSBC in publicly ruling out financing of the controversial Abbot Point coal terminal expansion on the Great Barrier Reef. The terminal expansion has been designed to export coal from nine coalmines planned for Queensland’s Galilee Basin.
In a letter to campaign organisations the bank wrote: “RBS is not involved in the Abbot Point expansion project and has no plans to be involved in the future.”
The bank later tweeted the same statement to campaign organisation GetUp.
RBS’s statement comes as UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee meets in Doha to consider listing of the Reef as World Heritage in Danger.
The Australian and Queensland governments, however, continue to press ahead with approvals of massive coal port expansions along the Reef.
Greenpeace program director Ben Pearson said commitments by foreign banks put pressure on Australian banks to act.
“We look forward to seeing Australia’s banks moving to protect Australia’s greatest natural treasure,” Mr Pearson said.
GetUp campaigns director Paul Oosting said it was clear that developer Adani was failing to convince investors it could be trusted to operate on the Great Barrier Reef.
Market Forces campaigner Julien Vincent urged RBS to go a step further and rule out financing of coal mines.
“In order to protect the health of the reef, RBS must also rule out investments in planned coal mines in Queensland’s Galilee Basin that are the driver for port developments that will ship millions of tonnes of coal through the Reef every year,” he said.