Oxfam Claims Australian Banks Funding Bad Actors

Oxfam Australia has accused Australia’s big four lenders of lending to companies who boot people of their land, very often leaving them both homeless and hungry.

The NGO recently released a report titled Banking on Shaky Ground – Australia’s big four banks and land grabs which documents bank backed companies who engage in forced evictions, illegal logging, inadequate compensation and child labour.

“From PNG and Cambodia to Indonesia and Brazil, our banks have backed companies accused of forcing people from their land. This involvement has also resulted in billions of dollars of exposure for everyday Australians who have their money in accounts with these banks, or who own bank shares directly or through their superannuation funds.” Oxfam Australia’s Chief Executive Dr Helen Szoke said.

Dr. Szoke added that Australian banks were making significant investments in the Asia Pacific region and see it as a huge opportunity for growth. The evidence suggests however that Australian banks were either unaware or were simply failing to respond to the types of risk of doing business in that part of the world, particularly in the timber and agricultural industries.

According to the report, Westpac is supporting a company in the PNG that is logging pristine rain forest despite the fact there was a finding by the country’s Commission of Inquiry Into Special Agricultural Business Leases which ruled the lease invalid.

ANZ is funding a Cambodian sugar plantation that makes use of child labour, and military backed forced evictions and land grabs.

CBA has invested cash in giant agribusiness which has a Brazilian sugar mill that is sourced from people illegally occupying land taken from indigenous people who are the true owners of the land and have been evicted.

NAB has been financing Wilmar a giant in the Asian palm oil giant Wilmar which has been linked to allegations of land grabbing in Malaysia and Indonesia since 2011. NAB made a loan last year to the company despite the fact that Newsweek had ranked Wilmar as the world’s least sustainable company for two consecutive years.

"Please note, any prices mentioned in the Charity Gifts blog are correct at the time of posting. Please check the relevant website for the latest pricing information."

Comments are closed.