An inquiry into financial services’ treatment of coal mining businesses is seeking more submissions.
An inquiry into financial services’ treatment of coal mining businesses is seeking more submissions.

Insurance row: 'rich for them to be talking about ethics'

Dawson MP George Christensen has launched an inquiry into what he calls the hypocrisy of the big banks and insurance services.

He is calling for businesses in the resources sector who have fallen victim to "ethical" decisions from banks and insurance companies pulling back from the coal sector to come forward and tell their stories.

"What we're hearing out of the sector is that insurers are saying if you've got so much of your business in thermal coal mining, we don't want to insure you anymore," he said

"Why? These are lawful, law-abiding businesses and they are having these services withdrawn from them, pretty arbitrarily, simply because these financial service providers - banks and insurers - somehow think there's an ethical issue involved.

"The ethical issue really probably is from the resources sector being associated with banks and insurance companies because they have a done a lot of unethical things and we have seen that play out over the royal commission.

"So it is pretty rich for this sector to be talking about ethics.

"There are mums and dads whose bread and butter comes from that sector, particularly in our region.

"Insurance is an essential service and they shouldn't pick and choose which customers they want to have.

"We're calling for any business that's ever been confronted with this … to come forward to my committee inquiry."

 

Dawson MP George Christensen and Resources Minister Keith Pitt at Ocean International in Mackay discuss insurance for mining and mine services companies. Picture: Tara Miko
Dawson MP George Christensen and Resources Minister Keith Pitt at Ocean International in Mackay discuss insurance for mining and mine services companies. Picture: Tara Miko

 

Resources Minister Keith Pitt, speaking in Mackay, also urged the resources sector to make submissions to the parliamentary inquiry into the financial sector's treatment of the industry.

He said the Joint Standing Committee on Trade Investment and Growth, of which Mr Dawson is chair, was examining the prudential regulation of investment in Australia's export industries, including the mining sector.

"These are all critical industries that are major employers, particularly in regional areas, and are key to Australia's economic success," Minister Pitt said.

"I requested the committee look into the issues following concerns raised about the treatment of the resources industry by some financial institutions.

"In the last year we've seen Australian banks, insurers and superannuation funds make announcements about withdrawing support to businesses with an involvement in coal mining, despite its continuing importance to our economy and the thousands of jobs it provides.

"I've since been approached by a number of industry representatives, including from central and north Queensland, expressing concern about the impact the move is having on their ability to secure insurance and finance.

"It's not just the big miners, but smaller 'mum and dad' businesses that are being affected and I urge them all to have their say through this inquiry."

Mr Christensen said there had been a strong response from export industries to the inquiry.

"However, it's important that we receive as many submissions as possible so the inquiry gets the full picture of the impact these issues may be having on some of our key industries, particularly resources," he said.

Submissions close on March 31 and can be made through the Joint Standing Committee on Trade and Investment Growth website.



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