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