What is the Future Fund?
The Future Fund is Australia’s national sovereign wealth fund. Its mission is to invest for the benefit of future generations of Australians and to strengthen the long-term financial position of the Australian government.
It invests in global shares, real estate, commodities and bonds on our behalf – currently about $200 billion dollars’ worth. It is not a superannuation fund, but an intergenerational national wealth fund, owned by all of us.
Who manages the Future Fund?
The Future Fund’s investments are overseen by a Board of Guardians, currently chaired by former Treasurer Peter Costello. Board members are appointed by government ministers, but the fund is run independently of the government. The Treasurer can, however, issue guidance to the Board. Within the Fund’s overall mandate, individual investment decisions are made by the Fund’s management team.
Why do we care how the Future Fund invests?
Right now, the Future Fund is investing billions of our public money into fossil fuels – accelerating damage to our climate that will make life worse for current and future generations.
The fund’s investment philosophy must match the needs and values of its ultimate owners; the Australian people, who overwhelmingly want to see their kids grow up in a safe environment and stable world.
Investment in renewable energy not only builds a safer future for people and our planet, it’s a better long-term investment of our money and creates new career opportunities for Australians. It’s a win-win-win.
On the flip side, under-investing in renewable energy while continuing to invest in fossil fuels is a bad investment decision. That’s why the guardians of Norway’s sovereign wealth fund decided to withdraw its investments in coal, oil and gas companies.
What is the Our Future Fund campaign calling for?
We are calling on the guardians of the Future Fund to drop its investments in the fossil fuel industry, starting with companies that mine, explore for and burn coal. Right now, our public money is being invested in areas that harm the planet and do little to modernise our economy.
We are also calling for more transparency about what the Future Fund invests in. The Australian public has very limited transparency over the Future Fund’s investments and we don’t know exactly how much of our public money is being invested in fossil fuels.
Who can we influence to change the investments of the Future Fund?
The Future Fund’s Board of Guardians and its Chief Investment Officer have the power to re-allocate the Future Fund’s investment portfolio. Alternatively, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg or Minister for Finance Mathias Cormann can give direction to the Board to guide its mandate. A third way involves changing the Future Fund’s mandate through legislative change, which requires sufficient political support from other MPs and Senators.
Why haven’t I heard of the Future Fund before?
Good question. Because it sounds dry and finance-y?
But it’s actually quite cool and visionary. It was started in 2006, at a time when the powers that be felt that Australia’s aging population was placing increasing pressure on the government’s finances.
So they set aside an initial lump sum ($60.5 billion) of taxpayer dollars to invest, with a mandate to strengthen Australia’s long-term financial position. No further contributions have been made since and it’s currently grown to $200 billion.
Who is behind the Our Future Fund campaign?
An alliance of organisations have come together to shift the balance about where the Future Fund invests our money, with a long-term vision for full divestment. See who’s in the alliance at www.ourfuturefund.org.au/alliance
What does ‘divestment’ mean?
You might have heard the term ‘divestment from fossil fuels’. Simply put, divestment is the opposite of investment. It’s a deliberate strategy to take money out of things you don’t want to support because they’re morally ambiguous, unethical or otherwise not aligned with your principles. It worked to weaken the regime in South Africa under apartheid in the past, and it’s being used by many people all over the world today as a tool to help solve climate change.
How can I support the campaign?
Sign our petition calling for a Future Fund the truly invests in our future: https://ourfuturefund.org.au/
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