What a day! Actions all over the country, including a massive action we supported and participated in at a key Melbourne Commonwealth Bank branch. More than 60 people gathered with 25 remaining all day (9 hours!) occupying and triggering a complete shut down of the bank, as well as a number of others around the country. It was part of a massive week of action that 350.org have coordinated, and this action was pulled off by Direct Action Melbourne, consisting of a large range of groups and individuals concerned about climate change, such as Quit Coal, 350.org, Frontline Action on Coal, CounterAct and others.
We were calling on Commbank to rule out funding in the controversial climate catastrophe in waiting – the proposed Abbott Point coal, port expansion, and the massive mines proposed, by Adani, for the Galilee Basin in Queensland.
Activists held the branch for a full business day, triggering a shut down, and decided to leave after gaining mainstream national awareness over the course of the day after the building was closed.
And the staff were lovely – so lovely, we might even come back for another visit 😉
PS – One of our lovely climbers did sustain a minor injury to his ankle – we are looking into this, and we are glad he is OK, as we take safety seriously… it goes to show the lengths people are willing to go to try and safeguard a climate future for all of us.
You can see some of our pics here and check out the huge twitter storm from earlier today at #Raisetheheat #DontRiskTheReef
MEDIA RELEASE FROM EARLIER TODAY
NOW, MELBOURNE — Dozens of concerned residents are peacefully occupying CommBank CBD Headquarters on Bourke Street in Melbourne today, calling on the bank to join 11 major international banks in ruling out involvement in the controversial Galilee Basin coal mines and Abbot Point coal port expansion on the Great Barrier Reef.
Today’s event is one of over 100 community actions that are taking place at CommBank branches across Australia and around the world in opposition to the Galilee projects. The Melbourne group have refused to leave the bank until CommBank hears their demands.
CommBank is the only Australian bank that has been publicly named as advising on the projects and likely to finance the Carmichael mine – the largest in the Galilee Basin. Recent research from Market Forces has revealed that CommBank is the largest lender to fossil fuel projects on the Reef.
“CommBank says it is the “People’s Bank” yet the people are calling on CommBank to say no to carbon bombs like the Galilee. We’ve emailed, petitioned, had meetings, used our shareholder leverage and moved our money, yet still CommBank remains silent. We are standing here today to tell the Bank that either they heed our call and say no to coal mine and port expansions on the Reef or they face a creative and unrelenting community campaign,” said John Knox, of Airport West.
“I am one of hundreds of CommBank customers who have moved their money out of CommBank. Yet despite losing millions of customer dollars, CommBank still refuses to stand up for our climate and Reef. That’s why I’m taking my concerns to the next level by taking action here today,” said Nicola Paris, of Direct Action Melbourne.
“If CommBank refuses to show leadership by saying no to climate and Reef Destruction, then actions like this will only continue to grow in scale and frequency. As we stand here, people right around the country and the world are making their concerns known to CommBank in creative and bold actions” said Isabella Morand of North Melbourne.
“You cannot call yourself a responsible lender on the one hand whilst on the other do backroom deals with dodgy mining companies like Adani over funding one of the world’s worst carbon bombs.” concluded Morand.
Police have attended the scene. The participants have confirmed they will continue the action for as long as it takes for CommBank to take on the message that is time to drop the Galilee Basin and Abbot Point.
Most of the mines slated for the Galilee Basin would be larger than any others built in Australia and would produce more emissions than the UK and Canada. They would be responsible for sending over 1,100 coal ships directly through the Great Barrier Reef every year.
A May poll of Australians found that 63% of Australians disapprove of the banks financing coal port expansion on the Reef whilst 82% of Australians think that banks should consider the social and environmental impacts of projects they fund compared to only 5% who believe they should only consider profits.
This action was organised by Direct Action Melbourne
PHOTOS AVAILABLE HERE