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Thursday, 17 June 2010
Page: 3727


Senator Mason asked the Minister representing the Minister for Environment Protection, Heritage and the Arts, upon notice, on 10 March 2010:

With reference to the Register of Environmental Organisations (the register):

(1) (a)   What is the process for lodging a complaint against an organisation registered as an environmental organisation?; and (b) what is the process for the investigation of those complaints?

(2)   Is the progress of investigations and their outcomes monitored or audited by the Minister or another third party.

(3)   How many organisations are currently under investigation?

(4)   For the past 12 months, how many investigations have been concluded?

(5)   What is the average time taken from receipt of the complaint to conclusion of the investigation?

(6)   How many organisations have been removed from the register as a result of breaches of the guidelines?


Senator Wong (Minister for Climate Change, Energy Efficiency and Water) —The Minister for Environment Protection, Heritage and the Arts has provided the following answer to the honourable senator’s question:

(1)   Complaints about organisations on the Register of Environmental Organisations may be directed either to me as Minister or to the Department of the Environment, Water Heritage and the Ads. The process for investigating complaints depends upon the nature of the complaint, and may range from the department seeking the organisation’s response to the complaint to an investigation or audit by the Australian Taxation Office.

(2)   The department’s investigations of complaints are not routinely monitored or audited by the Minister or a third party. Significant issues are drawn to the Minister’s attention, and major investigations are conducted in consultation with the Australian Taxation Office.

(3)   Three organisations are currently under investigation.

(4)   No investigations have been concluded in the past 12 months.

(5)   The department is not in a position to provide this information because the administration of the register has only recently been computerised.

(6)   A total of 33 organisations have been removed from the register following a breach of the guidelines since computerised records have been kept.