Council kicks out Boral
By Alison Dellit and Hugh McCallum
NEWCASTLE — On February 9, Newcastle City Council voted nine to two to make environmental performance part of the criteria for deciding which companies it will have commercial dealings with. The motion also made a clear commitment to end commercial dealings with Boral until its woodchipping operations in Australia stop.
This ratified a decision by the council in November not to award any further contracts to Boral. The move to reject Boral was spearheaded by the Newcastle Greens' councillors and was based on the principles of ecologically sustainable development.
Following the initial decision, the company appealed. It argued that environmental sustainability was not a valid criterion to judge tenders on. The council was required to organise a hearing to ascertain whether or not its decision was legal.
By rejecting Boral's argument, Newcastle City Council has set a precedent. The Byron Bay and Rockhampton councils have also rejected Boral tenders, citing environmentally destructive practices as the reason.
Local activists are excited by the decision, local sentiment clearly supporting the exclusion. This sentiment appears to be a key reason for the Labor Party councillors' decision to support the exclusion.