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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 13 Hansard (Tuesday, 30 November 2021) . . Page.. 3855 ..

Government—ethical investments policy

MR BRADDOCK: My question is for the Treasurer. Treasurer, I welcome the update to the responsible investment policy. I just have a question as to why this policy allows for some companies to have up to 10 per cent of their profits in some sectors but not others.

MR BARR: I thank Mr Braddock for the question. I believe that he is referring to the current requirements around divestment from certain industry types. Where it relates to gambling operations, yes, the threshold is currently set at 10 per cent of a company’s overall activities. Gambling operations would mean that a company would either own or operate gambling facilities as diverse as casinos, racetracks, bingo parlours and other betting establishments—

Mr Parton interjecting—

MR BARR: Including horses or greyhounds, Mr Parton, or other racing events that would permit wagering—and lottery operations and online gambling. And bingo, Madam Speaker. If you operate a bingo parlour, Mr Parton, that would be counted under this as well as wagering on sporting events.

The short answer to your question, Mr Braddock, is that there are many businesses that have a broad range of activities that perhaps would not be described, even from a Greens’ perspective, as being at the most pernicious end of the gambling industry! Unless you are saying that we must divest ourselves of any company that has bingo operations, I think the policy setting is about right. We review this frequently. We are happy to have a look at the broad policy settings from time to time. In light of the interest in this matter, I will undertake to do so as part of the next review of our investment policies.

MR BRADDOCK: Thank you, Treasurer, for that clarification. Does the ACT government invest in companies associated with nuclear weapons?

MR BARR: I think nuclear weapons are screened out under the requirement that relates to controversial weapons. This would include cluster munitions; landmines; biological and chemical weapons; and depleted uranium weapons, which I think would cover the weapon type that Mr Braddock is referring to. But it also extends to blinding laser weapons, incendiary weapons and/or non-detectable fragments. We do seek to screen our investments out there, together with gambling and also the manufacture of tobacco and related products—and direct exposure to proven fossil fuel reserves.

We cover this in great detail in estimates each year. It is part of the estimates hearing that we all look forward to!

MS CLAY: Does the ACT government support investment in companies associated with nuclear-related industries?

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