28 Apr 2014

Oxfam questions Westpac "sustainable" credentials in PNG

3:43 pm on 28 April 2014

Oxfam Australia says Westpac Bank in Papua New Guinea is among Australia's big four banks not living up to their image as leaders in sustainable banking.

The organisation says its painstaking research released in a new report has found Westpac is supporting the Malaysian logging company WTK Group found by a PNG Commission of Inquiry to hold an invalid land lease.

The Chief Executive of Oxfam Australia, Helen Szoke, says the bank has not been transparent about its 19 year financing relationship with WTK which has led to impacts on communities in East Sepik province.

"What community members have told us is that people have been forced to sign consent forms and of course once the logging started the communities really suffered the consequences, food shortages, deforestation, health problems, shocking water pollution."

Dr Szoke says Westpac should put pressure on the WTK group to change its practices.