In response to changes to the administration of organisations with Deductible Gift Recipient status announced by the Turnbull Government, Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF) Chief Executive Office, Kelly O’Shanassy, said:
“The Turnbull Government has backed down on its anti-democratic proposal to limit the advocacy of environment groups.
“Advocacy makes Australia a better place. It has kept oil rigs off the Great Barrier Reef, and given us Landcare, clean energy, air and water, and a Franklin River that flows.
“Limiting environmental advocacy is the agenda of coal lobby groups, especially the Minerals Council of Australia. By putting these changes on the agenda in the first place the Turnbull Government was doing the bidding of big polluters.
“It is interesting this back down follows a statement by BHP opposing the changes, and even a retreat by the Minerals Council in recent weeks.
“ACF is on the record supporting increased coverage of non-government organisations by the Australian Charities and Not-For-Profits Commission. But we are yet to see the full details of all the proposed changes and cannot form a view on other reforms put forward by the Turnbull Government for the charity sector at this stage.
“Charities are already highly regulated and scrutinised, much more so than other groups in public life such as industry lobbies. Any reforms should not put undue burdens on charities that would force them to use their limited resources on unnecessary red tape.
“The Turnbull Government should also drop its proposed limits to international philanthropic donations to charities and allow charities to get on with our crucial work of building a better Australia.”