Australians want environment groups to hold governments to account and challenge environmentally-destructive decisions in court, a new survey shows.
Polling by Essential Media finds 74 per cent of Australians agree environment groups should be able to criticise the government when it makes decisions that cause environmental destruction.
And 67 per cent believe environment groups should be able to take the government to court if the government makes a decision that does not comply with environmental law.
More than 80 per cent of Greens voters, 73 per cent of Labor voters and 69 per cent of Liberal/National voters agree donations to groups like ACF and WWF should be tax deductible.
“This polling shows government attempts to avoid scrutiny are out of step with the views of the Australian community,” said Australian Conservation Foundation CEO Kelly O’Shanassy.
“The federal government may not like to be held to account for its failure to tackle Australia’s climate pollution and for making decisions that endanger the Great Barrier Reef, but government accountability is an essential part of living in a democracy.
“The success of Australia’s democracy relies on much more than the ability of adults to cast a free vote on election day.
“For our democracy to thrive, environment groups need to be free to scrutinise governments and hold them accountable to the laws they are elected to uphold.
“ACF firmly believes the federal government’s decision to approve Adani’s massive Carmichael coal mine threatens the future of the Great Barrier Reef and is contrary to Australia’s international responsibility to protect the reef, a World Heritage site.”
ACF is appealing the Federal Court decision that accepted the Environment Minister’s argument that the burning of coal from Adani’s Carmichael mine will not have an impact on global warming and the Great Barrier Reef.
“While a small set of vested interests may not like it when environment groups speak out, it’s essential for nature and democracy in Australia,” Ms O’Shanassy said.