Media Releases | 4th May, 2016

Prime Minister must reject anti-democratic attack on environment charities

Environment Victoria today called on the Prime Minister to reject the Inquiry Report into the Register of Environment Organisations.

A House of Representatives Inquiry into environment groups’ tax-deductibility failed to find any evidence of breaches of the rules by charities, so instead attempts to silence environment groups by imposing limits on advocacy and tying charities up in red tape.

Environment Victoria CEO Mark Wakeham said today:

“This inquiry was anti-democratic and unfair in its targeting of environmental charities. It is an attempt to shut down community voices on environmental issues.

“It’s an attack on free speech and at least one Liberal MP and Committee member, Jason Wood, understands that in his dissenting comments.

“By proposing to impose limits on advocacy the government is attempting to silence charities and tie them up in bureaucratic red tape.

“This idea has been promoted very strongly by the mining industry for some years, trying to close down the ability of environment groups to speak up on environmental issues. The government seems to be more interested in supporting the interests of the mining industry than it is in having effective policies and proper democratic debate about environmental issues.

“The Prime Minister needs to reject this damaging and ideologically driven report and distinguish himself from Tony Abbott’s ideological agenda.

“The environment movement provides critical checks and balances on projects that will destroy our natural environment, and has a proud history of successfully protecting the places Australians love.

“It is not surprising that an inquiry established to attack environment groups has failed to uncover any evidence to justify removing charitable status from organisations, but instead resorts to bureaucratic nonsense to silence environmental voices.”


For interview and further comment:

Mark Wakeham, Environment Victoria CEO

Office: (03) 9341 8127 Mobile: 0439 700 501