Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has an opportunity to steer a new course of working with Australia’s not-for-profit and charity sector rather than working against it, said the Australian Conservation Foundation and Environment Victoria in a joint statement today.

“Some of Australia’s most important environmental outcomes – protecting places like the Great Barrier Reef, Kakadu and the Kimberley – have only been achieved when Australia’s conservation organisations have informed the community and advocated for the protection of these great national assets,” said ACF CEO Kelly O’Shanassy, who will address a Parliamentary hearing and rally today in Melbourne into the register of Environmental organisations.

“From John Howard’s expansion of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, to Bob Hawke’s rejection of mining in Antarctica, to Malcolm Fraser’s ending of sand mining on Fraser Island, to Julia Gillard’s Murray-Darling Basin Plan, governments from both sides of politics have made good environmental decisions that only happened as a result of advocacy campaigns,” said O’Shanassy.

Environment Victoria CEO Mark Wakeham added: “In recent months there has been a serious attempt made to muzzle conservation groups. First initiated by the mining lobby and extreme right-wing think tanks, there is now a political push to strip the tax deductible status of Australian conservation groups if they engage in public debate to encourage better government policies.”

“Instead of developing a positive agenda for environment and climate protection the Abbott Government has chosen to attack the messenger and try and silence environment groups.

Prime Minister Turnbull now has the opportunity to reset the Coalition’s environment policies and relationships with the sector by dropping the deeply unpopular attacks on environment and community groups and working collaboratively with the broad community to shape a healthier environment and economy,” he said.

ACF Media Enquiries

Journalists with enquiries may contact Tom Arup on 0402 482 910. For all other enquiries please call 1800 223 669 or email action@acf.org.au.