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Future Fund tobacco investment unethical: Greens

Media Release
Rachel Siewert 12 Mar 2011

The Australian Greens believe the Federal Government's Future Fund should be subject to revised investment criteria after it was revealed that the Fund holds over $100 million of shares in overseas tobacco companies.

Senator Rachel Siewert, Australian Greens Health Spokesperson said today that the investments were ethically and financially flawed.

"We're trying to break the hold of tobacco on our society and yet for every packet of cigarettes sold, the Futures Fund is better off," Senator Siewert said today.

"It makes no sense for a Federal Government fund to be investing in a way which is so clearly at odds with current health policy.

"Australia is on the path to becoming a world leader in anti-smoking initiatives. Smoking is our largest preventable cause of death and disease and places our health system under severe financial strain.

"Tobacco companies are actively engaged in campaigns to undermine efforts to reduce the toll of smoking on our community, and now we learn that they count the Australian Government among their shareholders.

"Investing in tobacco makes little sense when you consider the cost tax payers that smoking-related chronic disease places on our health system. This cost far outweighs the return on any tobacco investment.

"The Future Fund is an important investment tool and there is no reason that this investment cannot be conducted in a way that is both financially and ethically responsible.

"This revelation should provide us with an opportunity to re-visit the Fund and see what we can do to improve this investment strategy," concluded Senator Siewert.

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