Major fund dumps tobacco shares
A major Federal Government fund is dumping $100 million of tobacco company shares as the Commonwealth moves to distance itself from the industry.
The Commonwealth Superannuation Corporation revealed at a Senate Estimates hearing late last month that it is divesting itself of its tobacco holdings, following similar action taken by the Future Fund earlier this year.
Australian Greens health spokesman Senator Richard Di Natale welcomed the move as an important advance in removing public funds from tobacco companies.
“It makes absolutely no sense for public money to be invested in such an insidious industry,” Senator Di Natale said. “The announcement is a win for common sense.”
The Greens and public health groups have been campaigning to force public entities to sever financial links with the tobacco industry, and Sentor Di Natale said the Corporation’s decision was a welcome one.
The Future Fund decided in February to divest itself of shares in 14 entities involved in tobacco production after coming under sustained public and political pressure over the holdings, worth around $222 million.
In a statement announcing the decision, Chair of the Fund’s Board, David Gonski said the Board had “noted tobacco’s very particular characteristics, including its damaging health effects, addictive properties and that there is no safe level of consumption”.