The City of Ballarat will pull its money from the big four banks to protest fossil fuel funding.
A motion passed on Wednesday night notes that while council has no direct investments in fossil fuel companies, savings and investments are held by “fossil fuel aligned financial institutions”.
Five councillors voted for the plan while two were opposed.
Deputy mayor Belinda Coates said it was part of a broader movement to pressure the big banks to stop funding fossil fuel projects.
“It just gives us a really good start and shows we’re taking climate change seriously,” she said.
“We’re aligning council money with council values.”
But Cr Coates said it did not go far enough in pulling away from fossil fuel funding.
There is a cautionary tone in the officers’ report saying full indirect divestment could harm council’s finances
The motion has several different aspects.
The major part will not be immediate but that will likely have the biggest effect is the resolution that council will move all its transactional banking to the institution that best demonstrates distance from the fossil fuel sector.
Cr Coates estimated they were currently half-way through a three-year agreement.
Another section says “any future investments (will) be re-invested only with non-fossil fuel aligned financial institutions”.
Cr Coates said this could be maturing term deposits.
There are parameters however, with the green investments needing to offer a “comparable” rate of return.
Vicki Coltman, who along with Jim Rinaldi voted against the motion, said the non-disadvantage clause showed some uncertainty over the idea.
“Don’t commit to it if you’re not going to actually do it,” she said.
“Why have a non-disadvantage clause?”
The plan will also see management ask council’s default superannuation fund Vision Super provide a fossil fuel investment-free option.
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.