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September 09, 2020

Shareholders demand IAG board come clean on protecting koalas and Indigenous cultural sites

The Insurance Australia Group (IAG) has officially announced to the ASX that a resolution lodged by its shareholders to protect World Heritage sites will be put to a vote at its AGM in October.

The shareholder resolution opposes the strong support IAG has been giving, largely through the Insurance Council of Australia (ICA), to the proposal to raise the Warragamba Dam wall. The dam proposal would destroy hundreds of Indigenous cultural sites and koala habitat within the Blue Mountains World Heritage Area. The IAG and ICA position on raising the Warragamba Dam can be found herehere and here

IAG owns NRMA Insurance.

Gundungarra Traditional Owner, Kazan Brown, said:

"There isn't a day that goes by where you don't see NRMA's tokenistic advertising about Indigenous people and protecting koalas. It would seem the IAG board likes paying lip service to Indigenous people and the environment in their advertising, but all the while sell out on Indigenous sites and koalas when an opportunity presents itself to boost their bottom line through insurance premiums from urban development. 

"Raising the Warragamba Dam would destroy hundreds of Indigenous sites within the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area, including many burial, rock art and shelter sites. 

"It's not like we haven't tried talking to the company about the serious problems with the dam project first. Just a few months ago we wrote to the Chair of IAG asking for a meeting and she quickly rebuffed our request saying she could not have a meeting with our people due to "COVID" [letter attached].

"We're fed up with the lip service, and simply want our sites protected like they should be within a World Heritage area."

Colong Foundation Campaign Manager, Harry Burkitt, said: 

"The insurance industry, and particularly IAG, are the primary advocates from destroying the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area. They have been using community safety from flooding as a figleaf to excuse the destruction of natural and cultural heritage sites in the Blue Mountains since at least 2013.

"If the IAG are serious about protecting Indigenous culture, koalas, and floodplain residents they need to immediately walk away from supporting this developer driven dam project."

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Australian Foundation for Wilderness Limited
ACN 001 112 143
ABN 84 001 112 143
Advocating as 'Wilderness Australia'
Formerly The Colong Foundation for Wilderness Ltd
Registered Office 8/154 Elizabeth Street Sydney NSW 2000
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