Environmental Law

MAJOR ENVIRONMENT GROUPS REJECT INQUIRY REPORT INTO CHARITABLE STATUS

MAJOR ENVIRONMENT GROUPS REJECT INQUIRY REPORT INTO CHARITABLE STATUS

Media Statement, Places You Love Alliance

Key Australian environment groups today called on the Federal Environment Minister, Mr Greg Hunt, to reject recommendations of a report of an inquiry into the charitable status of environment groups.

The CEOs of WWF, The Australian Conservation Society, The Wilderness Society, Greenpeace Australia Pacific, Friends of the Earth and the Nature Conservation Council of NSW issued the following statement on behalf of the Places You Love alliance:

Report here, including a dissenting report by Labor members.

The Report of the Inquiry into the Register of Environmental Organisations correctly recognises the enormous contribution environment groups have played in safeguarding Australia’s precious yet fragile environment, protecting icons from the Great Barrier Reef to the Franklin River.

However, the report contains a number of deeply flawed and dangerous recommendations, including an arbitrary requirement to spend a quarter of donor funds on ‘environmental remediation’ and a draconian attempt to clamp down on the type of work organisations conduct.

This flawed Inquiry, initiated by the Abbott Government and driven by a small handful of conservative MPs with the support of the mining industry, failed to uncover any evidence to justify removing the charitable status of any environment group.

We welcome the dissenting statements made by Liberal MP and committee member Jason Wood, raising significant concerns about the two most dangerous recommendations. (*See excerpts below).

We have identified two highly flawed and dangerous recommendations in the report.

Recommendation 5

The recommendation requiring environment groups spend at least 25 per cent of their supporters’ hard-earned money on ‘environmental remediation’ is ludicrous, imposing a huge bureaucratic burden on both the government and organisations, particularly small groups working with local communities. In Canada, the same policy experiment failed dismally, creating enormous red tape with no resulting public benefit.… Read more >>

Federal Government attacks on environmental groups

The Federal government is now attacking environmental groups on two fronts.

1. One inquiry well under way is the following attempt to remove tax free donation status of environmental charities like Friends of the Earth.

“The House of Representatives Standing Committee on the Environment will inquire into and report on the administration and transparency of the Register of Environmental Organisations (the Register) and its effectiveness in supporting communities to take practical action to improve the environment.” More information here.

Friends of the Earth Australia has made a submission and hearings are being held around the country. The Adelaide hearing is scheduled for September 1st – location to be announced. The hearing will be open to the public and we intend to have a representative monitor the Adelaide event.  Friends of the Earth are appearing before the inquiry in Melbourne on September 21st – location to be announced.

2. “The Abbott government has revealed plans to repeal a section of Australia’s environment laws that allows green groups to challenge approvals for mining projects and other large developments in the courts. Federal Attorney-General George Brandis said the government would seek to repeal section 487 (2) of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act and “return to the common law”, after it was used successfully by the Mackay Conservation Group to overturn the federal environment minister’s approval of the Carmichael mega-coal mine in Queensland’s Galilee Basin.” Renew Economy: The six big lies in Tony Abbott’s attack on the environment

The Six Big Lies in Tony Abbott’s attack on the environment:

Lie 1. It’s the economy versus the environment

Lie 2. The parade of projects

Lie 3. Coal jobs at risk

Lie 4. Activists destroying the industry

Lie 5. The cost of emissions reductions

Lie 6. The sheer hypocrisy of it all

A good article at the Guardian article: George Brandis says vigilante green groups are destroying thousands of mining jobs

You are invited to sign the PETITION to Attorney George Brandis asking him to:

Stop Abbott government destroying Australia’s environmental laws.

Read more >>

Trans-Pacific Partnership campaign request

Fair Food Adelaide’s March Against Monsanto project invite you to take action about the Trans-Pacific Partnership  by emailing Trade Minister Andew Robb.

The Trans Pacific Partnership campaign by Getup asks you to please consider writing a quick email to Trade Minister Andrew Robb: tell him not to sign.

The Trans Pacific Partnership  will allow corporations to sue the government

  • if they don’t like our food labelling,
  • if they don’t like our ban on GM in foods over 1%,
  • if they don’t like SA’s GM moratorium,
  • if they don’t like us banning gas fracking of farmlands and wilderness
  • if any legislation interferes with their business plans

The TPP will make medicines vastly more expensive and generally undermine Australia’s sovereignty.  Our federal, state and local governments will be beholden to foreign multinationals when writing our laws through fear of being sued.Read more >>

Students of Sustainability Conference July 8-12 Flinders University

The national Students of Sustainability conference is on again and this time in Adelaide at Flinders University 8-12 July!  Friends of the Earth just might have a surprise….

students of sustainability pic

 

Students of Sustainability (SoS) is the largest and longest running environmental & social justice conference in Australia and this year the conference will be in South Australia at Flinders University on Kaurna Country.

SoS is organised by students from the Australian Student Environment Network (ASEN) and brings together environmentalists, social justice advocates and activists from all over the country to share ideas and action.

The five day conference will explore how we can act on environment and social justice issues and find solutions for change. A variety of workshops, forums, plenaries, excursions and plenty of entertainment will fill the program, plus all of your meals and on-campus camping are covered in the ticket price.

The broad spectrum of experiences, diverse people and activities involved, makes SoS a crucible for sharing ideas, visions, designs and goals on how to make positive change. If this sounds like your kind of scene, come and join academics, entrepreneurs, Aboriginal elders & delegates, change-makers, campaigners and students who are working together for people and planet.

REGISTER NOW at www.studentsofsustainability.org and take advantage of early bird ticket offers.

If you have any questions you can also ask them in the Facebook event page.

See you there! Robyn Wood robyn.wood@foe.org.au… Read more >>

Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement Community Meeting

tpp

 

Please pass onto your networks.

Community discussion with Greens Senator Peter Whish-Wilson re TPP and ISDS

When: Tuesday 15 April, 6pm to 7pm. Drinks and nibbles from 5.30pm.

Where: Office of Greens Senator Penny Wright, Level 3, 27 Leigh Street, Adelaide

Leaked chapters from the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade negotiations and the recent Korea-Australia Free Trade Agreement, provide clear and chilling examples of how new modern trade agreements can have influence over significant areas of public interest and importance.

The Abbott Government supports ‘Trojan Horse’ provisions commonly called Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) clauses in current trade negotiations. Even former Prime Minister John Howard did not support ISDS in the last US Free Trade Agreement. ISDS provisions open a can of worms, and allows foreign investors to sue governments if their investments are ‘harmed’ by a national, state or local policy or law. We know from ISDS clauses in other so-called FTAs this mechanism could;

• Put at risk affordable medicines and Australia’s Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme

• Attack moves to tighten rules on foreign investment in agricultural land and water

• Prevent moratoriums on genetically modified organisms and coal seam gas extraction

• Attack environment laws and legislation designed to address climate change; and

• Remove county or region of origin food labelling.

Please RSVP to Emma.Gorman@aph.gov.au by 5pm Monday 14 April if you would like to take part in this important discussion.

The Fair Food Adelaide Collective is continuing the campaign against the TPP, if you would like to be involved please contact us at adelaide.office@foe.org.au

Read more >>