The Australian Marine Conservation Society (AMCS) has welcomed the statement by German’s leading bank, Deutsche Bank that it will not invest in the port expansion at Abbot Point on the Great Barrier Reef.
Last night in Germany, environmental advocates attended the Deutsche Bank Annual General Meeting to call on the bank not to invest in coal terminals on the Reef’s coastline.
Over 188,000 Germans have signed petitions calling on the bank to pull its investment from the developments that could ruin the Reef’s health.
Whitsunday Islands Charter Boat Industry Association President Tony Brown attended the AGM, asking the mega-bank to end its investment in what will be the world’s biggest coal port, less than 50kms from the iconic islands.
Felicity Wishart, AMCS Great Barrier Reef campaign director, said that the world is clearly worried about Australian and Queensland government plans to industrialise the coastline of the Great Barrier Reef.
“Charter Boat operator Tony Brown has travelled half way around the world to stand up for the Great Barrier Reef and the $6 billion tourism industry which relies on it. If only our governments would do the same,” said Ms Wishart.
Deutsche Bank Co-Chair Juergen Fitschen responded to questions by Tony Brown and others saying that “as there is clearly no consensus between the Australian Government and the UNESCO, regarding the impacts of the Abbot Point expansion on the Reef, we will not consider financial applications for an expansion of Abbot Point.”
The head of Deutsche Bank’s Supervisory Board, Mr. Paul Achleitner, said: “We are currently not involved with this project and will also not be involved with it in the future.”
Ms Wishart continued: “We are hopeful that the international finance community will take notice and that our own big banks in Australia also choose to reject investment in new Reef ports, dredging and dumping.
“The mining industry shouldn’t be able to use the Reef as a dump for dredging.
“A strong Queensland economy needs a healthy Reef. Reckless industrial development could damage the Reef forever and cripple our valuable tourism industry.
“Dredging threatens the nurseries of our fish and the seagrass feeding grounds for turtles and dugongs. These areas are too precious to be dredged and used as a dump for millions of tonnes of rock and mud,” said Ms Wishart.
Press Release, May 23, 2014