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THE Tasmanian government has a proud record of achievements in regard to its support for measures that reduce the impact of smoking on the lives of Tasmanians and on the state’s budget. They have implemented tobacco control legislation and made in roads in smoke free areas, reducing advertising at point of sale and access to tobacco related products for children. It was because of this record that the CPSU recently approached Finance Minister Scott Bacon to raise some questions some CPSU Members who were also RBF members asked about RBF investments in the tobacco industry.
In his response to the union Minister Bacon explained that the state government actually had little control over the way in which RBF invested members funds. RBF is made up of two separate funds – the Tasmanian Accumulation Scheme and the Defined Benefit Scheme, both of which are managed by an independent Board. It is the Board who determines how and where member money is invested and as Trustee Board members they are required to act in the best interest of the Fund and its members.
Despite this the Minister highlighted two avenues RBF Members could take if they were concerned about investment in tobacco.
1) If you oppose investments in the tobacco industry, you can write to RBF Board and express your concern. The Board must act in the interests of members so if enough members raise their concerns then this will encourage the Board to review these investment decisions.
2) For members of the Tasmanian Accumulation Scheme can decide how they want their savings invested. RBF offers a socially responsible investment option. The RBF Socially Responsible Investment Option is wholly invested in AMP Capital Responsible Investment Leaders Balanced Fund. This AMP fund considers the following when investing:
- Environmental factors: such as energy use;
- Social factors: including community involvement and indigenous relations; and
- Ethical factors: such as meeting human rights and labour standards.
The CPSU encourages Members who have their funds in RBF schemes and are concerned about tobacco investment to look into either of the above avenues.
You can find out more on the RBF’s website, which you can find here.