Environmental activists protest at Bendigo Westpac against Adani mine

NOT HAPPY: Pat Horan, from Mount Alexander Sustainability Group, and Noreen Boord, a Greens member, take part in the protest outside Westpac's Bendigo branch.
NOT HAPPY: Pat Horan, from Mount Alexander Sustainability Group, and Noreen Boord, a Greens member, take part in the protest outside Westpac's Bendigo branch.

UPDATE 4pm: An organiser of a protest outside Westpac’s Bendigo branch is optimistic the bank will eventually refuse to provide finance for the proposed Adani coal mine in Queensland.

Dean Bridgfoot, a veterinary surgeon from Castlemaine, said he “just can’t see” how the bank’s senior managers could claim to be concerned about sustainability while also funding the mine.

Dr Bridgfoot said the other major banks had indicated they would not provide finance.

He said the proposed mine gave rise to concerns about groundwater, its contribution to climate change and the impact on the Great Barrier Reef.

Pat Horan, from Mount Alexander Sustainability Group, and Greens member Noreen Boord were among the scores of people at Friday’s protest.

Mrs Boord said she was “absolutely aghast at the environmental disaster” the mine was going to be.

Dr Bridgfoot said there would likely be further protest action taken.

UPDATE 1.25pm: Some protesters have entered the bank and police have been called.

Others remain in the street, expressing their views with song.

EARLIER: ENVIRONMENTAL activists have gathered at the Bendigo Westpac branch in a bid to convince the bank to rule out funding a proposed coal mine.

Organiser Dean Bridgfoot said the proposed Adani mine in Queensland would be the largest coal mine in Australian history and would double the country’s carbon dioxide emissions.

On Thursday a Westpac spokesperson said the bank would ”not provide finance to companies or projects that do not comply with our rigorous sustainability and environmental controls”.

“However, it is Westpac’s long standing policy not to comment on matters relating to specific companies or projects,” the spokesperson said.

More to come.