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Abbott Government trying to limit Australians’ philanthropy

The Abbott Government's plan to remove tax deductibility of donations to environment groups would devastate environment protection, heard the Senate Inquiry into the government's environment attacks at the first hearing in Brisbane today.

"One in five Australians donate to environment groups - their generosity and altruism should be rewarded by government," Queensland Senator Larissa Waters, Australian Greens environment spokesperson, who established the Inquiry, said.

"But the Abbott Government wants to make it harder for Australians to donate to environmental advocacy organisations by taking away the tax deductibility of those precious donations

"We heard today that environment groups rely on the goodwill of Australians' donations to stay afloat. 

"Without a strong, diverse environment movement, the Abbott Government would be able to let its big mining donor mates destroy our land, water, climate and Great Barrier Reef, which provide sustainable jobs.

"Through advocacy in the past, the environment movement has put an end to whaling in Australia; saved the Great Barrier Reef from oil rigs and stopped the Franklin River from being dammed.

"Today, the environment movement is standing with farmers and regional communities to advocate against big coal and gas sacrificing our future food security.

"The Abbott Government is setting up an outrageous a double standard - there's no talk of removing the tax deductibility of donations to political parties and think tanks, like the right-wing Institute of Public Affairs.

"The Abbott Government wants to silence criticism of its repeated environmental attacks, including approving one of the world's biggest coal ports in the Great Barrier Reef and trying to scrap federal environment protection and leave it to the states.

"The Senate Inquiry, initiated by the Greens, will continue to investigate the impacts of the government's repeated attacks on the environment, including its de-funding of Environmental Defenders' Offices," Senator Waters said.

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