16 Aug 2012

Westpac urged to stop financing Solomons logging operations

7:14 pm on 16 August 2012

The Australian Greens' Party says the banking group, Westpac, should immediately end its financing of logging operations in Solomon Islands.

This comes amid revelations the bank is the guarantor of a controversial new development on Vella Lavella.

The Sydney Morning Herald reports this involves logging about 1600 hectares of rainforest on the tiny island which has previously seen violent clashes involving logging interests and locals.

Greens' Senator, Lee Rhiannon, says Westpac trades on its environmental credentials but is financing companies throughout the Solomons that are involved in what she says is illegal logging.

"The significance of Vella Lavella is that it is a new operation and Westpac is on the record saying they have cut back on the number of loans, that they are pulling out of loaning to logging companies completel, and that they have taken on no new jobs. But now there is a report that in fact they have."

Australian Greens' Senator Lee Rhiannon.

A spokesperson for Westpac has re-stated it is not involved in any new financing.

He says the Bank is committed to severing links with Solomon Islands logging by the end of next year.