Media Release - Monday, July 17 2023
People power wins as Whitehaven Coal fails to renew $1billion rotating debt facility, previously financed by NAB and other banks
Today’s quarterly announcement by Whitehaven Coal revealing that it’s failed to renew its rotating debt facility signifies a win for people power, lives, livelihoods and ecosystems everywhere.
Move Beyond Coal – a grassroots community movement tackling Australia’s biggest contribution to the global climate crisis – has campaigned relentlessly in more than 60 locations across the country to stop the National Australia Bank (NAB) and other Australian and international banks from renewing their $1billion combined loan to Whitehaven Coal since September last year.
NAB and other Whitehaven Coal investors’ decision to cease financing this debt facility for Australia’s largest undiversified coal company shows investors see financing new thermal coal as too risky.
This announcement sends a clear message to the coal industry, financial institutions and the government that the Move Beyond Coal movement is powerful, strategic and is stopping finance for climate-wrecking coal expansion in its tracks.
This news is also a win for frontline communities including the Gomeroi people, farmers and land holders in NSW and QLD who have been fighting fossil fuel development and Whitehaven Coal’s destructive mines and finance for decades.
Whitehaven Coal has no climate policy, no intention to phase out coal and is in fact actively expanding their coal operations with five new coal projects. The lack of investor confidence from Australian and international banks alike revealed today has shown Whitehaven that there is no financial support for new thermal coal projects.
Miree Le Roy, a business owner and former NAB business customer says “Wherever NAB has turned, they've seen and heard Move Beyond Coal — whether it be outside or inside their branches, at CBD Headquarters, on their social media, at NAB events, University careers fairs, sponsored AFL games, or on anonymous NAB staff webinars. You name it — our people-powered movement was there.
Together we have exposed NAB’s greenwash and called on the bank to stop funding Whitehaven Coal and their dangerous expansion plans, and it has clearly worked. As a former NAB business customer I’m relieved to hear NAB has listened to climate concerned citizens, staff and customers, to deter Whitehaven Coal from going ahead with their unconscionable expansion plans to accelerate the climate crisis.
Although NAB has listened to our people-powered movement this time, NAB is still the most regressive Australian bank and a climate laggard , increasing its funding of the fossil fuel industry to the tune of $4.5bn. The work is not over and our movement will continue to push financial institutions like NAB until there are no new climate-wrecking coal projects on the table."
Fahimah Badrulhisham an active member of the Move Beyond Coal movement said: “People power made this happen. By disrupting business as usual, our unstoppable movement is taking down the pillars of the Australian coal industry one by one.
Young people, people of faith and communities in more than 60 towns and cities across Australia took action as part of this campaign and will continue to work to expose companies, financial institutions and governments that support the coal industry in the midst of a climate crisis.
The science is unequivocal. To protect the lives and livelihoods of people across the globe, and to safeguard precious ecosystems, Australia must move beyond coal.”