Allied Health Professionals spend their working lives helping people and protecting their health. Meanwhile, Australia’s two largest health sector super funds, HESTA and First State Super, are investing our money—our superannuation—in harmful fossil fuels.
When fossil fuels are burnt they emit harmful toxins. These toxins are associated with the premature death of hundreds of thousands of people a year across the world through cardiovascular and respiratory disease. Fossil fuel extraction processes also generate air and water pollution and often harm local communities, and the transportation of fuels from mines and along pipelines can also cause air pollution and lead to spills and other serious accidents.
Moreover, all fossil fuels, when burned, contribute to climate change – the greatest global health threat humanity has ever faced. Climate change threatens our health by increasing the risks of heatwaves, bushfires, droughts and storms, displacing people and straining our health systems.
It is our strong view that investment in fossil fuels is irresponsible and dangerous. Especially as we now have viable clean and safe and low-carbon energy alternatives.
It is also true that investments in fossil fuels carry serious financial risks. A recent report by Market Forces entitled Burned, estimates that HESTA and First State Super’s default investment options lost $485 million and $685 million respectively on fossil fuel company shares over 2014-15. This equates to an estimated loss of $735 for every HESTA member and $1,174 for every First State Super member invested in the default options.
We’re calling on HESTA and First State Super to protect both the public’s health and our finances by divesting from fossil fuels. Both funds exclude investments in tobacco and HESTA excludes investments in Transfield Services (now “Broadspectrum”), who operate asylum seeker detention centres.
If you’re a HESTA or First State Super member, take action and ask them to divest from fossil fuels. Click here: www.healthyfutures.net.au/divest.
Unions are not fee-for-service industrial organisations. Good unions are politically active communities that work in the interests of their members in all spheres of life including in the area of social justice. VAHPA take this responsibility seriously and ask all members to work with us to combat climate change.