Environment Minister sabotages environmental groups

Minister for the Environment, the Honourable Greg Hunt MP  is to conduct a Parliamentary Inquiry into the Register of Environmental Organisations, which maintains records for eligible organisations and carries with it tax deductibility status, and annual reporting obligations.

The Terms of Reference clearly reflect an intention to amend the qualifying rules to ensure environmental groups that aren’t directly involved in ‘on-ground activities’ like tree planting, will have a hard time staying on the Register. Groups whose primary interest is in political lobbying on behalf of people who value the environment, such as the Environmental Defenders Office, the Wilderness Society and others, may lose support deductibility status, leading to fewer donations and ultimately less political clout.

What sort of crazy political system would it be if we facilitated and supported organisations that  involve themselves in political decisions on behalf of people who care about the environment?

The Honourable Minister for the Environment better do something about that.

Sarcasm aside, the sad story behind this Inquiry is one of an elite group of vested interests pulling the strings of both major parties in Australian politics. Hunt knows the game is about a trade in favours, and he is doing his utmost to signal to business interests that he is on their side, and that he is a willing participant in a game of quid pro quo. There is also Mr Hunt’s post-politics job prospects to consider.

While cleaning up our political system will just about require a revolution, there a couple of simple things you can do about this Inquiry if you are interested in having an Australia that has an active organisational sector representing environmental protection.

You can sign this petition at change.org.

Or you can write a submission to the Inquiry yourself.

My submission is here (pdf) if you would like to copy from it in part or in whole.

Comments

  1. Are donations the Minerals Council tax deductible?

    Seriously, the various political entities in the guise of environmental groups have to move with the times, they are not charitable organisations. The are professional activists and on occasion do great harm to the national economy. I welcome a closer look at their function.

  2. I agree we need to look at their function. As disclosed the other day, there is hardly a mine in QLD that deserves to retain its mining licence as a result of the lack of rehabilitation of mined areas which has not occurred under the leadership of the present mine managers and company directors.
    It is an absolute disgrace, and now the mines have become not profitable, who is going to pick up the tab for this essential rehabilitation work. I see Prince Harry is calling for National Service for the good the Army did for him, perhaps we could have some of these national dependents out planting trees on mine rehab country wide before they collect their Govt cheques. WW

    • I think its time we looked at dividends, income and payments and simply took them back.

      If you have people earning a wage and not rehabilitating the area then all dividends paid need to be taken back and wages reclaimed.

      I’m sick and tired of this total lack of accountability.

    • Yes, the current levels of surety deposit (rehabilitation bond) required by State govt’s at grant of mining licence, and the on-going reporting obligations are woefully inadequate. Progressive rehabilition at most mine-sites is behind schedule wrt the mine plan, and while status is reported annually, it has never resulted in the suspension/cancellation of a mining licence. With 100’s of active mines in Australia, we have multiple cases of regulatory capture.
      Mines cease operating when no longer profitable, and rarely because the resource is fully-exploited. A care-&-maintenance status drags on until the operator exits & the mine quietly closes permanently. This is usually over a period of decades, and the costs of rehabilitation rise with inflation, and the bond is insufficient. In environmentally-, ie. politically-sensitive cases, the govt., ie. taxpayers, are on the hook to do something about it., eg., old coal mines in Newcastle/Lake Macquarie, Lithgow areas; metalliferous mines (“acid mine drainage”) such as Woodlawn, Mt Lyell. Most tailings dams are un-rehabilitable.

    • fancy titles are residue of old english feudal system still in place in Australia, the other important one is pathological love for property and desire to rise to landlord class by ex-vassals’ descendants

  3. JacksonMEMBER

    Simple fix under this government, change the Wilderness Society to the “Church of the Wilderness”. Problem solved.

      • I like the church of Satan because they believe that all churches should pay tax,

        “Strict taxation of all churches.
        If churches were taxed for all their income and property, they’d crumble overnight of their own obsolescence, and the National Debt would be wiped out as quickly. The productive, the creative, the resourceful should be subsidized. So long as the useless and incompetent are getting paid, they should be heavily taxed.”

  4. surflessMEMBER

    Just wonder how Greg Hunt would like to drink the water out at Gunnedah, as the town supply is mainly bore water instead of his bottled water.

  5. Ha ha ha! Smash those lefty greenies, Greggles! That’ll teach ’em for voting Labor/Green.

    Perhaps while they’re at it, they can start investigations into getup for being the rabid environmentalist faction of ISIS youth recruitment and indoctrination.

    Never underestimate how much Abbott and his supporters (e.g. Hunt) define themselves by their visceral hatred of ‘greenies’ and ‘lefties’.

    Australia voted in a group of fanatical ideological nutjobs – just the government the nation deserves!