23 May 2014 — Deutsche Bank will not finance the $1.8 billion Abbot Point coal port expansion, after an organised campaign targeted its annual general meeting in Frankfurt, Germany.
At the AGM, Deutsche Bank co-chair Juergen Fitschen said the bank would not consider financing the expansion of Abbot Point as “there is clearly no consensus between the Australian Government and the UNESCO, regarding the impacts of the Abbot Point expansion on the Reef”.
The campaign featured a number of organisations, including GetUp, Market Forces and Greenpeace, who were targeting the bank as the most likely to finance the expansion due to its previous financing of Abbot Point. Tony Brown, a tourism operator from the Whitsundays, travelled to Frankfurt to speak at the AGM on the importance of the Great Barrier Reef and ask Deutsche Bank not to finance the expansion.
Deutsche Bank responded to the campaign, saying its only involvement with Abbot Point was “as one of three banks that last year helped the leaseholders to refinance their lease on the 30-year-old terminal owned and previously operated by the Queensland government”.
“Deutsche Bank has a long track record of supporting environmental sustainability and takes the future of the Great Barrier Reef very seriously,” the release stated.
It said it would only consider a request to finance an expansion if it had the assurance of both the government and UNESCO that the expansion would not adversely affect the value of the site.
Speaking on the decision, GetUp’s campaigns director Paul Oosting said: “World Heritage sites like the Great Barrier Reef, the Taj Mahal and the Grand Canyon have been protected for their outstanding universal values, a recognition by governments that they need to be looked after for all people for all time.
“Hundreds of thousands of Australians and tens of thousands of Germans have stood up on this campaign, showing how deeply they value World Heritage sites, and just how seriously they take UNESCO’s warning that the Reef is under serious threat and could be listed as in danger.”