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Heart Foundation welcomes review of Future Fund tobacco investments

SYDNEY 26 October 2012. The National Heart Foundation of Australia is welcoming the announcement that the Future Fund is reviewing its investment of taxpayers’ funds in tobacco companies, but has called for the review to be transparent and open.

“The Heart Foundation strongly opposes investment of public funds in tobacco companies via the Future Fund,” said Dr Lyn Roberts, National CEO of the Heart Foundation.

“It’s totally inappropriate for the Future Fund to work against the Australian Government’s proud record on tobacco control.

“Australia’s reputation as a global health leader is being dragged through the mud by continued investment of public money in the tobacco industry.

“Tobacco kills some 15,000 Australians every year, many of them from heart attack and stroke.

“If you smoke, you are at least twice as likely to have a heart attack and three times as likely to have a stroke.

“It is simply wrong that the Government allows the Future Fund to profit from buying and selling tobacco company shares when so many Australians suffer from diseases caused by smoking.

“It is also of deep concern that the Future Fund has invested in tobacco companies operating in countries like Indonesia, where an estimated 426,000 children aged between 10 and 14 are smokers.

“The Future Fund has stopped investing in companies that make landmines, which cause 4,200 causalities around the world each year.

“It’s time they stopped investing in tobacco, a substance responsible for 5.4 million deaths a year,” Dr Roberts said.