Activist groups agitating to derail community support programs

December 10th, 2014

The level of confected fury and manufactured indignation has been almost palpable this week as activist groups try to drum up outrage over gas company support of a long-running safe driving campaign.

The self-appointed sponsorship ombudsman, Lock the Gate, was foremost amongst those trying to draw conclusions and paint conspiracies about the Santos GLNG project’s sponsorship of a Queensland outback safe driving campaign – you can see their Tweet here, or take a look below.


The Stay On Track Outback campaign is an initiative of the Queensland Police Service, and provides practical advice on driving on outback roads (presumably not an issue for city-based activists).

It’s sponsored by a number of Government departments, as well as the RACQ motoring organisation and Imparja, the indigenous television network.

Lock The Gate’s cynical attempt to label the Santos sponsorship as ‘buying’ influence and being a conflict of interest was only topped by their allusion to corruption in this Tweet


The Queensland Police Service has responded strongly – with Commissioner Ian Stewart telling the Courier Mail newspaper that their sponsorship arrangements are clear:

It is very healthy, it’s done transparently and openly, it’s done without any suggestion that companies that help us with sponsorship get any preferential treatment.”

It’s not the first time that activists have got on their collective high horses and criticised oil and gas companies for supporting local communities and causes. It’s a favourite tactic.

In the United States, activists have even criticised an oilfield services company for making a donation to a cancer research organisation.

The facts are clear – responsible developers of natural resources – be they oil and gas or mining companies – invest millions of dollars in local areas, providing community resources, supporting emergency services including aeromedical retrieval and bushfire brigades, and funding the operations of environmental groups.

By complaining about community support and sponsorships, activists are seeking to deny services and benefits to local communities, and denigrate the investment that resources companies make where they operate.

One of the major complaints of anti-industry groups is that companies don’t invest in local communities, but when they do, activists complain about that as well.

Anti-industry activists can’t have it both ways – or can they?

It’s apparently OK for Lock the Gate to accept donations from companies.

The hypocrisy is galling.

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