A submission to the Parliamentary Enquiry into the funding of fossil fuel exports shows that one trillion dollars, or 37% of Australian’s superannuation funds, is managed by members of the Responsible Investment Association of Australia, the RIAA, and so is unavailable for investment in fossil fuels, logging and other environmentally harmful activities. The RIAA submission says that 2 out of 3 Australians do not want their investments being used for environmental harm.
The Inquiry into the prudential regulation of investment in Australia’s export industries was set up by resources minister Keith Pitt in February, to collect evidence that environmental activism is harming Australia’s economy by damaging exports of coal and gas. When Parliament approved the enquiry he said,
“It is of great concern to me that a legitimate industry like coal mining, which makes a significant contribution to the national economy and employs thousands of Australians, is being held back by what can only be described as corporate activism.”Resources Minister Keith Pitt
Last week, Minister Pitt addressed the Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association conference in Perth last Wednesday to attack activist groups such as Greepeace. He urged petroleum companies to make submissions to the inquiry to prevent activism that “ignores the fact that resources development in Australia is carried out safely and responsibly and that Australia’s economy was built off the back of the resources sector”.
The terms of the inquiry are to inquire into:
The domestic and foreign investment opportunities and challenges for Australia’s export industries and their associated businesses, arising from changes in prudential standards and practices across banking, insurance and superannuation institutions, in addition to publicly-listed companies, with particular reference to:
- The existing and future contribution of Australia’s export industries;
- The investment guidance and advice provided by Australia’s financial regulators, including the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA), the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) and the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC), to banking, insurance and superannuation institutions, and also to publicly-listed companies, in relation to investment in Australia’s export industries;
- The approach and motivations of our financial institutions, including banks, insurers and superannuation funds, as well as publicly-listed companies, to their investment in Australia’s export industries;
- The consequential impacts of (2) and (3):
a) For legitimate. law-abiding businesses connected to Australia’s export industries;
b) On regional and rural economies that are reliant on Australia’s export industries. particularly in light of the COVID-19 recession;
c) Our national economy. particularly in light of the COVID-19 recession;
- Any other related matter.