May 4, 2016

Report into Environmental Charities “Damaging, Anti-Democratic” and should be rejected:

CANBERRA, 4th May: Climate change organisation says that recommendations from a report just released regarding the tax deductibility of environmental charities are anti-democratic and calls upon Ministers Greg Hunt and Kelly O’Dwyer to reject the report.

“This inquiry was an unnecessary witch hunt on the environment movement, driven by extreme, conservative MPs and the big polluters seeking to undermine groups working in the public interest to protect our precious natural environment,” Australia CEO, Blair Palese said.

“When governments fail to act in the interests of the community and planet, such as the current inaction on climate change, citizens deserve the right to protest. We have seen a consistent undermining of this democratic right from Liberal Governments. Make no mistake, this report is an attempt to silence environmental charities around Australia.

“It’s no surprise that the recommendations handed down in today’s report are damaging and anti-democratic. They unfairly target environmental charities that promote peaceful civil disobedience, which has played a vital role in protecting our forests, climate, water, farmlands and biodiversity from reckless governments too attached to the interests of companies such as the fossil fuel industry,” said Palese.

“This weekend, hundreds of people will converge at the world’s largest coal port in Newcastle for one of Australia’s largest climate civil disobedience actions in response to a complete lack of climate action in the wake of our signing of the Paris climate agreement. Our governments are failing us on climate so people feel the need to step up. Organisations that support this should not be punished but thanked for doing the important environmental protection work that our Governments are not.

“This report seeks to add an enormous bureaucratic burden to already resource-constrained not-for-profit groups, at a time when we need our environment movement stronger than ever to stand up for the places that our Government is failing to protect. It also punishes Australians who want to support organisations that engage in peaceful protest to protect our environment.

“If Greg Hunt was worthy of his “Best Minister in the World” title, he would reject this report outright and stand up for the environment groups that are currently doing the job he should be,” concluded Palese.

Media contact: Cambell Klose 0490 436 948