Media release

Origin AGM: transparency on Indigenous consent and climate lobbying must improve

The Australasian Centre for Corporate Responsibility​ (ACCR) says Origin Energy cannot continue to ignore investor concerns on the consent of Indigenous communities and lobbying.

Resolution 5b, calling on Origin Energy to publish further information on its consent arrangements in place with Traditional Owners in the Northern Territory’s Beetaloo Basin, received 11.8% support in pre-cast votes.

Resolution 5c, calling on Origin Energy to review the advocacy of its industry associations and their lobbying during COVID-19, received 25.25% support in pre-cast votes.

Commenting on the votes at today’s Origin Energy AGM regarding Resolution 5b, Brynn O’Brien, Executive Director at the Australasian Centre for Corporate Responsibility (ACCR) said:

“Despite a jump in investor voting, from 5.5% last year to 11.8% today, the vast majority of investors continue to vote down measures to improve transparency on the issue of consent of Traditional Owners in the Beetaloo Basin.

“Investors can no longer rely on regulatory regimes in place in Australia to protect the interests of Traditional Owners - as the Juukan Caves blasting clearly demonstrates -- and further due diligence should always be applied in such relationships.

“ACCR has been following this issue for three years. Our interest is in ensuring that Origin’s stated commitment to the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples is implemented in practice.

“The resolution simply called for a review of Indigenous consent arrangements in this region, under agreements negotiated between Origin’s predecessors and the Northern Land Council. To date Origin has played down Native Title Holders’ stated concerns, but those concerns appear to persist.

“Investors are entitled to know the true picture. That is the purpose of ACCR’s engagement on this issue.”

Commenting on the votes at today’s Origin Energy AGM regarding resolution 5c, calling for a review of lobbying related to COVID-19 recovery, Dan Gocher, Director of Climate & Environment at the Australasian Centre for Corporate Responsibility (ACCR) said:

“More than a quarter of Origin’s shareholders have put the Board on notice that they will not tolerate its lobby groups’ advocacy for a gas-fired recovery. APPEA and the Queensland Resources Council have been relentless in their campaign for taxpayer subsidies and further deregulation of the gas industry.

“In the absence of mainstream proxy adviser support, both Origin and the proxy advice industry must accept that the problem of lobbying on climate and energy policy is not going away.

“While Origin’s exit from the QRC earlier this month is welcome, Origin has not disclosed the conditions under which it would rejoin. Origin must insist that the QRC ceases its support for the relentless expansion of the coal and gas industries.

“Piecemeal annual reviews will no longer cut it. Origin will be expected to exit further industry associations, in addition to the QRC.”



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