Westpac appears to have ruled out funding the controversial Adani mine by limiting lending to basins that are already producing thermal coal.
Westpac has long been targeted by protesters over its failure to follow its rivals in ruling out funding for the $20 billion Adani mine in Queensland's Galilee Basin, which critics say would severely jeopardise the state of the Great Barrier Reef and destroy Indigenous land rights.
Australia's oldest bank on Friday updated its climate change action plan in which it said it would limit thermal coal project lending to producing basins where the coal quality is highest - a move the bank said demonstrated support for the transition to a zero emissions economy.
It was also revealed today that almost 300 square kilometres of central Queensland will be opened up for coal exploration.
Queensland Natural Resources Minister Dr Anthony Lynham said four blocks in the Bowen Basin would be open for exploration near existing coal mines.
The land release is the first in Queensland in four years.
"This land release is a significant opportunity for explorers to gain access to land with the potential for thermal and metallurgical coal," Mr Lynham said.
The announcement comes amid renewed controversy over the approval of the Adani coal mine in the Galilee Basin, southeast of Bowen.
The proposed $20 billion thermal coal mine would be the biggest in Australia and is expected to operate for 90 years.
Opponents of the mine say it would severely jeopardise the state of the Great Barrier Reef and destroy indigenous land rights.