CANBERRA, AAP – Australia’s climate ructions are having a chilling effect on investment, the country’s largest superannuation funds have told a parliamentary hearing.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has said he would prefer Australia to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050, in line with commitments by many large economies.

But the net-zero ambition is still not government policy as the coalition has failed to secure a truce in the climate wars that have ended careers of previous prime ministers.

“Policy instability or variance can have a chilling effect on investments,” CBUS chief executive Justin Arter told parliament’s economics committee on Thursday.

“That’s not a desirable thing for the Australian economy, and therefore not a desirable thing for investors or superannuants.”

The committee heard of growing concerns among financial institutions about Australia as a place to invest because of a lack of action at a federal level on climate change and sustainability

Ian Silk, chief executive of the country’s largest superannuation fund Australian Super, said climate change was a recognised investment issue, not just an environmental concern.

“There are risks and opportunities that come with it,” he said.

“So for local and global investors to have a clear idea of what the regulatory settings are, and what they’re likely to be in the future, will give investors greater confidence.”

Australian Super has more than $100 billion invested across the economy, including in key infrastructure facing long-term risks, while CBUS manages $63 billion.