Federal Inquiry recommends ending tax benefit for illegal protestors

May 04, 2016

The Federal Government should adopt the recommendations of the House of Representatives Inquiry into tax concessions provided to groups registered as ‘environmental charities’.
 
“The Inquiry has recommended ending the special tax benefit given to activists promoting, supporting or engaging in illegal activity while pretending to be ‘environmental charities,” NSW Minerals Council CEO, Stephen Galilee said today.
 
“Protest groups in NSW like Lock the Gate and CounterAct run workshops and training programs on how to break the law as a form of protest. People are encouraged to engage in civil disobedience that often includes trespass, blockading of public roads and interfering with dangerous heavy equipment.”  
 
“These groups have been receiving special tax treatment as donations to them are tax deductible - the same tax treatment received by the Salvos or Mission Australia.  The Federal Government should adopt the recommendations of the Committee and end this abuse of taxpayer dollars,” Mr Galilee said.    
 
Recommendation six of the Committee’s report recommends that administrative sanctions, including loss of tax deductibility status, be introduced for environmental deductible gift recipients that encourage, support, promote, or endorse illegal or unlawful activity undertaken by employees, members, or volunteers of the organisation or by others without formal connections to the organisation. The Committee has also recommended that the payment of penalties or court-ordered fines of others should also be captured. (page 65)
 
Another welcome recommendation by the Committee was the requirement that the value of each environmental deductible gift recipient’s annual expenditure on environmental remediation work be no less than 25 per cent of the organisation’s annual expenditure from its public fund.
 
“By adopting these recommendations, the Federal Government can ensure that special tax treatment goes to environmental charities that actually conduct real on-ground environmental remediation work, not professional activists that encourage people to break the law.”
 
A full copy of the report can be found at http://www.aph.gov.au/reo
 
Contact: Harry Hughes | hhughes@nswmining.com.au | 0409 758 734 | 02 9274 1419

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