Call to Limit Advocacy Ability of NFP Environmental Organizations
A controversial federal government report released last week is recommending that the federal government dictate the terms of purpose for environmental Not-For-Profit organisations – that of supporting practical environment work in the community.
The House of Representatives Committee inquiry into the tax deductibility of environment organisations recommends that such organisations lose their tax deductibility status for public donations, unless a quarter of donated funds is spent on remediation work, such as tree planting, weeding, controlling pests or wildlife rehabilitation.
This arbitrary figure would be applied to all current NFP environmental organisations that have DGR (deductible gift recipients) status, regardless of the purpose for which they were established, eg law reform, education, research, advocating for the protection of the environment, or reporting wildlife crimes. Many environmental organisations do not undertake any on-ground work, concentrating on conserving nature not attempting to replace that which has been destroyed.
This politically motivated inquiry, which has the support of the mining industry, failed to uncover any evidence to justify the removal of the charitable status of any environmental organization. The inquiry was established by Environment Minister Greg Hunt in 2015, following a Liberal federal council vote in favour of a motion from Tasmanian MP Andrew Nikolic that green groups be stripped of their charitable tax status in 2014.
The report recommended that sanctions and fines be applied to DGR environmental organisations 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 organization”.
Further, the Committee recommended stricter reporting and compliance requirements – above that of other charities.
Over 680 submissions were made to the inquiry, with the majority objecting to any plans to impose stricter terms to environmental organisations than other charities. Read the report here, including the dissenting report by Labor members.
Ceasing mining on North Stradbroke Island by 2019
The Finance and Administration Committee has tabled its report on the two North Stradbroke Island Bills.
The Committee supports the North Stradbroke Island Protection and Sustainability and other Acts Amendment Bill 2015, and the cessation of mining by 2019.
The Committee rejected the Katter Party Bill which sought to extend mining to 2014.
Non-government members of the Committee wanted to extend mining to 2035.
NPAQ welcomes the Committee’s outcome and encourages the government to proceed with the Bill without delay. This will grant certainty to residents and visitors, protect the island’s environment and cultural assets, and lay the foundations for a sustainable future.
Access the Committee’s report here.
Providing insights into climate change
A field study in Melaleuca wetlands in south-east Queensland is providing crucial insights into climate change.
A consortium of researchers including Griffith University School of Engineering Professor Margaret Greenway, found Melaleuca leaves preserved in ancient wetlands could be used to reconstruct past rainfall activity.
You can read more about the study here
Back from the brink of extinction
In what has been described as a conservationist’s dream, two endangered Australian mammals are bouncing back from the brink of extinction after being relocated to a remote, predator-free island. The two species have been under threat since cats and foxes were introduced to Australia by European settlers.
Brush-tailed bettongs, or woylies, have now almost completely disappeared from the mainland, while black-footed rock-wallabies are listed as endangered.
On Wedge Island in South Australia, 200 kilometres off Adelaide, it’s a different story.
“It’s pretty spectacular if you walk over the island” said Bertram Ostendorf of the University of Adelaide.
Read more about the mammal introduction here
Balancing recreation and migratory bird conservation
New research from the University of Queensland suggests that we need to consider new ways to reconcile the recreation needs of people and protection of migratory birds.
Associate Professor Fuller said “the zoning analysis indicates we don’t need conservation reserves in which people are kept out, but that reducing current widespread access by dogs to the foreshore would benefit shorebirds.”
School of Biological Sciences honours student Madeleine Stigner, lead author of the study, said recreation was permitted in many protected areas around the world. “Experiencing nature benefits our health and wellbeing and can provide revenue and support for conservation objectives, but we also need to give nature space to thrive,” she said.
Ms Stigner went on to add “when dogs were present, birds were more likely to be absent, but the effect of people without dogs was much smaller”.
The researchers considered three types of zones – dog recreation zones, people access-only zones and conservation reserves (no access by people or dogs).
You can read more about the study here.
Our annual raffle has been drawn! Congratulations to the winners.
Huge thanks to our generous sponsors:
Thank you to all the lovely folk who bought and sold raffle tickets.
Click here to view the list of winners.
Have fun in the bush with NPAQ
NPAQ offers a multitude of events and activities for our members and members of the public. These vary from guided day walks to five week extended outings, and from birding to kayaking to tree planting. Visit the NPAQ website to see what events are coming up and register to attend online.
See upcoming events.
Members are crucial to protecting national parks
Established in 1930, NPAQ is an independent, not-for-profit, membership-based organisation. As the first conservation organisation in Queensland, and the longest running National Park Association in Australia, NPAQ has played a pivotal role in the establishment of many national parks in Queensland. The Association continues to build upon this proud history today with the continued support of its members.
If you share an appreciation for national parks and the vital role they play in conserving our unique natural environment, consider becoming an NPAQ member. NPAQ welcomes people from all walks of life, and offers a variety of ways to be involved. NPAQ membership is a great place to start.
Find out more about NPAQ membership.