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Environment Minister silences environment groups.

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Anthony Albanese MP Shadow Minister for the Environment and Heritage Federal Member for Grayndler

11 April 2005


The Environment Minister, Ian Campbell, has moved to silence environment and heritage groups throughout Australia by slashing their funding and threatening their tax deductible status.

Senator Campbell has announced that Grants to Voluntary Environment and Heritage Organisations (GVEHO) for the 2004/05 financial year will be capped at $10 000 per agency. That automatically means that 14 major community groups will have massive funding cuts, and that’s before they even apply for next year’s funding. (Last year’s funding is attached.)

Senator Campbell has also slammed the door on agencies raising public awareness of the environment or pushing for stronger environmental protection. The Howard Government won’t fund these critical activities.

The GVEHO program is the lifeblood for State Conservation Councils and many local and national environment groups. Jobs will be lost, services will be cut. This will have a devastating effect on the environment.

The attack doesn’t stop there. Senator Campbell has also written to environment groups threatening their tax deductible status (attached). They are reminded that tax deductability is not available for “political” activities, such as pushing for stronger environmental laws. This represents a double whammy from a Government determined to silence civil society.

Without tax deductability, most environment groups would have to shut up shop. That would have dire consequences for our environment and be devastating for our democracy which relies upon community based organisations being able to function.

Senator Campbell’s track record is appalling. Since becoming Minister almost a year ago:

• He has refused to call a meeting of his two key non-government advisory bodies, the National Environment Consultative Forum and the National Heritage Consultative Forum;

• He has refused until now to tell environment and heritage groups what funding they will have for the current financial year; and

• He has watched over spiralling greenhouse emissions and has neglected our heritage, most evident by the destruction at Anzac Cove.

The Minister has demonstrated contempt for those community based organisations who are most passionate about defending our environment and heritage.

Monday, 11 April 2005

For further information/comment: Anthony Albanese 0419 777 597 Wayne Smith, 0417 141 812

List of 2003-2004 GVEHO Grant Recipients

NAME OF ORGANISATION 2003-04 Albury-Wodonga Environment Centre 4,000

Arid Lands Environment Centre 10,000

Aust Inst for Cons of Cultural Mat. 9,450

Aust Marine Conservation Society 12,500

Aust Network for Plant Conservation 2,000

Aust Trust for Conserv Volunteers 6,000

Australia ICOMOS Incorporated 9,450

Australian Bush Heritage Fund 2,000

Australian Committee for IUCN 7,750

Australian Conservation Foundation 23,000

Australian Society of Archivists Inc 2,400

Big Scrub Environment Centre 4,000

Birds Australia 2,500

Blue Mountains Conservation Society 4,000

Byron Environment Centre 2,000

Cairns and Far North Env Centre 4,000

Canb & S East Region Env Centre 2,000

Capricorn Conservation Council 4,000

Central Coast Comm'ty Env Network 4,000

Clarence Environment Centre 2,000

Clean-Up Australia 8,500

Cons C'cl of S E Region and Canb 25,000

Cons Council of South Australia 85,000

Cons Council of Western Australia 75,000

Denmark Environment Centre 2,000

Earthwatch Australia 5,500

Env Centre of West Australia 10,000

Environment Victoria 85,000

Environs Kimberley 4,000

Federation of Aust Hist Societies 20,240

Gold Coast & Hinterland Env Council 4,000

Goulburn Valley Environment Group 4,000

Humane Society International 10,000

Jewish Museum of Australia 2,700

Keep Aust Beautiful National Assoc 31,500

Launceston Environment Centre 4,000

Mackay Conservation Group 4,000

Merri Creek Management Committee 4,000

Murray Darling Association 4,000

Museums Australia Incorporated 24,300

National Parks Association of NSW 10,000

National Parks Association of QLD 10,000

Nature Conservation Council of NSW 85,000

Nature Conservation Society of SA 10,000

North Coast Environment Council 4,000

North Queensland Cons Council 4,000

Queensland Conservation Council 92,000

Rockingham Regional Enviro Centre 2,000

Royal Aust Artillery Hist Company 2,700

Royal Australian Historical Society 4,500

Shortland Wetlands Centre Ltd 4,000

South Gippsland Conserv Society 4,000

South West Environment Centre Inc 4,000

Sunshine Coast Environment Council 4,000

Surfrider Foundation 1,500

Tasmanian Conservation Trust 50,000

Tasmanian Environment Centre 10,000

The Environment Centre N.T. 55,000

The Historical Society of Sth Aust 2,700

The Qld Women's Historical Assoc 2,700

Toowoomba & Region Env Council 4,000

Total Environment Centre 10,000

Victorian National Parks Assoc 10,000

Watermark 2,000

Wide Bay Burnett Cons Council 4,000

World Wide Fund for Nature Australia 37,000