Reject anti-democratic restrictions to silence environment charities - submit by 4 August

Submit to the Treasury Discussion Paper by Friday 4 August 2017

In May 2016, an Abbott/Turnbull Government inquiry report recommended restricting how much environment charities can speak up.

Under the recommendation, environment charities would be required to spend a quarter of their donations on ‘remediation work’, such as tree planting.

Now the federal Treasury has gone further, proposing 50 percent of funds be spent on remediation.

Please make a submission to the Treasury discussion paper – read the key points to make below.

Cleaning up or repairing our environment is incredibly important, but it is just one part of what we should be doing. Another part is stopping our environment from being destroyed in the first place.

The truth is that advocacy and on-ground environmental work cannot exist without the other. Both are needed to improve our environment and safeguard our natural heritage, but each organisation should be able to make its own decisions about which path to choose.

For a group like us, this restriction would take resources away from campaigning to cut pollution, increase clean energy, phase out coal, protect our rivers and promote energy efficiency.

As experts have documented, this change is driven by lobbying from big, multinational mining companies that don’t like the idea of community or environment groups challenging their plans to dig, pollute and profit off the damage.

The Treasury discussion paper is accepting response submissions until Friday 4 August 2017.

We urge you to lodge a submission because it will be much harder for us all to protect the environment if groups that do advocacy are forced to spend up to half of their money on remediation.

This is an attempt to divide and conquer environment charities and we all need to take stand together.

Please send a submission to the Treasury email address below.

Senior Adviser
Individual and Indirect Tax Division
The Treasury
Langton Crescent


Key points for your submission

1.      Each organisation should be free to set its own priorities and to make an informed assessment of the best way to achieve those environmental outcomes, whether this is through advocacy or on-ground remediation. Any new restrictions or limitations should be strongly opposed.
2.      The community expects environmental groups to be strong advocates for environmental outcomes.
3.      Advocacy to improve environmental policy is about preventing damage from happening in the first place, not only cleaning up the mess or fixing the damage after the fact. Advocacy for better policy can be the most efficient expenditure compared to the cost of repairing future environmental damage.
4.      Limiting the ability of environment groups to advocate for our environment would result in poorer environmental outcomes.
5.      Some major environmental problems, like climate change, can’t be stopped just through on-ground environmental remediation.
6.      The Inquiry and discussion paper create a false dichotomy between remediation and advocacy. On-ground work often needs supporting policies or funding from government, which may only arise as a result of advocacy.

Feel free to include a list of the charities you donate to – environmental and non-environmental.

For more background information, see our submission to the Parliamentary Inquiry into the Register of Environment Organisations.

Email your submission to