"We will do everything we can to make sure Westpac decides they won't fund the destruction of the Great Barrier Reef and the Adani coal mine," Amy Gordon, from the Australian Youth Climate Coalition (AYCC), told a crowd of about 200 outside the head office of Westpac Bank on February 20. The rallies were organised by the AYCC and 350.org.
Rallies were held in Brisbane, Canberra and Melbourne, as well as Sydney. They were part of a national day of action to protest Westpac's refusal to rule out funding the Adani project in north Queensland, which would be the largest coalmine in Australian history.
The National Australia Bank has categorically ruled out funding the Adani project and both the Commonwealth and ANZ banks have distanced themselves from it, leaving Westpac as the only Australian bank that has refused to state its position. It has already lent $643 million in previous deals with Adani.
"There is enough coal in the mine to devastate the world's climate if it were dug up," 350.org Australia campaigner Isaac Astill said. "The future of Adani's coal mine is teetering on a knife edge and if Westpac decided to rule out funding it, it would be a massive blow to the project.
"Westpac has to put its money where its mouth is and uphold its climate commitments by ruling out funding the dangerous Adani coal mine immediately. The Great Barrier Reef and our safe climate future depend on their decision.
"We won't stop until Westpac stands up for the climate by ruling out funding this megamine."