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Super fund quits tobacco shares

Super fund quits tobacco shares

Rhianna King, The West Australian May 17, 2013, 5:28 am

The State Government’s superannuation fund, GESB, has put an end to its investment in tobacco and cigarette companies in the wake of similar moves by other government funds.

WA’s biggest super fund had investments of A$52 million, or 0.33 per cent of its total portfolio, in companies involved in the production of cigarettes and other tobacco products.

GESB chief executive Howard Rosario said the decision, which was made after a review, had come at the right time.

“With approximately 25 per cent of our members working in the health sector and tobacco consumption on the decline, GESB is confident our decision will be welcomed by both members and the public alike,” he said.

Mike Daube, from the Australian Council on Smoking and Health, said the move sent out a positive signal from the Government.

Professor Daube said the move brought WA into line with the Commonwealth Future Fund’s decision in February.

“The issue isn’t so much about the amount as about the messages it sends out,” Professor Daube said.

“Tobacco companies are estimated to make about $10,000 in profit per smoker death.

“Government funds should not be used to invest in a product that is lethal when used as intended.

“GESB is to be congratulated on an honourable decision, which is especially appropriate as so many of its members are involved in treating and preventing diseases caused by smoking.”

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