Activist funding scrutiny gets interesting

May 21st, 2015

Groups claiming environmental status are fighting a rear-guard action ahead of hearings by a Parliamentary Committee inquiring into the Register of Environmental Operations.

Some of them are starting to beef up their social media accounts with enthusiastic reports of the good deeds they’ve been doing for the environment, whereas this time last year they talked only about stopping gas and coal developments.

Other groups take particular offence at examination of their finances, claiming persecution and making noise about stifling democracy.

As we’ve previously reported, while the majority of groups on the register do genuine environmental work, some of the more than six hundred groups who enjoy special status as a result of being on the register would struggle to demonstrate how any of the funding they receive goes to on the ground environmental work.

We suspect locking onto machinery and gates as part of protests against approved projects doesn’t count.

As this article shows, the links between groups claiming special status and protest organisations are extensive.

The article makes special mention of The Sunrise Project – a group that was formed off the back of the Stopping the Australian Coal Export Boom strategy, the development of which was part funded by the US Rockefeller Brothers Fund, and  which itself proposed funding streams be allocated to activist (and latterly fractivist) groups including the Lock the Gate Alliance.

It’s all part of a familiar pattern. It’s no longer about local community groups, even though the major activist groups are desperate to maintain that facade.

As Queensland Resources Council CEO Michael Roche said earlier this year, the top dozen activist groups – 11 of which have tax deductible status – have an estimated 476 staff. Their annual revenues total almost 90 million dollars, and are combining these resources to go up against fossil fuels.

The Parliamentary Committee is still receiving submissions. All the details can be found here.

 

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