Newcastle City Council sticks to divestment motion

Newcastle City Council is resisting pressure not to divest from coal.

The Labor-dominated Newcastle council has defied pressure from unions and senior ALP figures to rescind moves to investigate moving a $270 million investment portfolio away from banks that fund ‘‘socially and environmentally’’ harmful projects and industry.

Labor’s Cr Declan Clausen, who moved the original motion, said it was not against the coal industry or coal jobs, but a symbolic move in support of ‘‘different jobs for the future’’ and a shift to renewables and a clean energy industry.

A poll of 764 voters in the Newcastle local government area just before the meeting found that only one in four thinks investing in coal is financially safe and more than half — 51.9% — described coal investments as financially risky. The poll found 47.3% supported Newcastle City Council’s decision, with 27.8% undecided.