Groups could lose tax sta­tus

Warwick Daily News - South West Queensland Rural Weekly - - Bush Banter -

EN­VI­RON­MEN­TAL or­gan­i­sa­tions such as Friends of the Earth and Lock the Gate could be ren­dered vir­tu­ally in­op­er­a­ble if they lose their tax-de­ductible sta­tus.

FATE cam­paigns di­rec­tor Cam Walker said about 95% of en­vi­ron­men­tal char­i­ties’ in­comes came from de­ductible gift re­cip­i­ent tax ar­range­ments, which al­low donors to claim back their do­na­tions.

“If you take that away, it’s not hard to see there’s not much left,” Mr Walker said.

“I think we do good work – we spent six years work­ing to get the Victorian gas ban, which we did with re­gional and ru­ral com­mu­ni­ties.”

The Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment is con­sid­er­ing re­form­ing the de­ductible gift re­cip­i­ent ar­range­ments, in­clud­ing tight­en­ing up gov­er­nance and open­ing the pos­si­bil­ity of re­vok­ing tax de­ductible sta­tus. It fol­lows a par­lia­men­tary in­quiry into en­vi­ron­men­tal or­gan­i­sa­tions.

The fed­eral Na­tion­als have been out­spo­ken against en­vi­ron­men­tal groups in­volved in po­lit­i­cal ac­tiv­ity hav­ing de­ductible gift re­cip­i­ent sta­tus. Na­tion­als leader Barn­aby Joyce this month said in a speech to the Min­er­als Coun­cil that “we’ve got to make sure we push back” against en­vi­ron­men­tal char­i­ties “whose job it is to com­pletely de­stroy the eco­nomic base of Aus­tralia”.

NSW Na­tion­als MP Mark Coul­ton, who sec­onded the con­fer­ence mo­tion, ar­gued groups had por­trayed them­selves as pro­tect­ing the en­vi­ron­ment but “ul­ti­mately they are more po­lit­i­cal or­gan­i­sa­tions driv­ing the agenda one way or an­other”.

Asked if an in­quiry should in­clude agri­cul­tural or­gan­i­sa­tions with tax-ex­empt sta­tus – such as Queens­land Su­gar and GrainGrowers – Na­tion­als Se­na­tor Matt Cana­van said he did not sup­port “fun­da­men­tal changes” to the frame­work and the in­quiry was “about en­sur­ing in­tegrity of the sys­tem so it is not abused by a few”.

PHOTO: MIKE KNOTT

LOCK THE GATE: En­vi­ron­men­tal groups could lose their tax-deuctable sta­tus.

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