Some international investors may be cautious about doing business in Australia amid a concern over what is perceived as weak policies on environment and climate change, French bank BNP Paribas said Friday according to media reports.
Since Australia’s Liberal government took office in September 2013, it has removed the country’s price on carbon emissions and approved a number of new coal projects, some of which environmentalists say threaten natural treasures such as the Great Barrier Reef.
It also attempted to delist a World Heritage Site in Tasmania in a bid to pave the way for forest clearing, a move that was blocked by the U.N.
“It makes some international investors more reserved about coming to Australia under those circumstances,” Didier Mahout, BNP’s chief executive in Australia and New Zealand, told reporters in Sydney.
“There is no crisis, no urgency, just the need to become aware of that,” he said, according to the Sydney Morning Herald.
The warning from France’s biggest bank adds pressure on a government already stressed by a large budget deficit and poor unemployment data, despite having come to office promising to make Australia “open for business” by removing what it referred to as “green tape” put in place by the former Labor government.
Political opponents have attacked Prime Minister Tony Abbott, who on Monday fought off a challenge against his leadership with a 61-39 win in a party room vote, for appointing former coal executives and climate change deniers as his closest business advisors.
A review committee headed by climate sceptic Dick Warburton last year recommended big cuts in Australia’s renewable energy target, but has been locked in negotiations with the opposition for months. Talks are set to resume in March, the Australian Financial Review reported Friday.
By Stian Reklev – firstname.lastname@example.org