Anti-gas and mining groups are coming under heavy fire over their tax status with the heads of two peak mining groups calling on the government to revoke their tax breaks.
Speaking to the Daily Telegraph last week, CEO of the NSW Minerals Council, Stephen Galilee said giving tax breaks on donations to organisations that engaged in illegal activity was an “outrageous abuse of taxpayer dollars”.
“These protest organisations should not receive special tax treatment,” he said.
According to Mr Galilee, currently environmental activist groups such as Lock the Gate Alliance and The Sunrise Project receive GST concessions, income tax exemption and fringe benefit tax rebates.
Referring to protests where activists have been arrested, refused to comply with police orders, damaged property and chained themselves to mining equipment, Mr Galilee said, “(These) groups that flout the law or encourage others to do so should not receive special treatment”.
“We are calling on the Australian government to review the DGR (Deductible Gift Recipient) status of all these groups,” he said.
Addresssing the Australian Pipeline Industry Association Dinner last week, Head of the Queensland Resources Council, Michale Roche, said some anti-mining activist group received substantial financial backing from groups overseas.
“The Rockefellers (Rockerfeller Family Fund) stumped up 70 thousand dollars to bring these organisations together in October 2011, where over a weekend in the Blue Mountains, they devised a strategy to Stop the Australian Coal Export Boom,” Mr Roche said.
“Since then, the activism landscape has changed with local benefactors joining with major overseas
funders of the anti-fossil fuels movement.”
“A prominent example is Fight for the Reef – a campaign that can afford TV advertising during State of Origin – is the result of Cellarmasters’ founder David Thomas bringing WWF and the Australian Marine Conservation Society together, with a reported war chest of around 30 million dollars available over the next few years.”
Phil Laird, national coordinator of Lock the Gate Alliance said he would not be swayed by the “unprecedented attack” on his organisation.
“…we will not be bullied by multi-national billionaires trying to shut down our democratic rights to defend land, water and communities,” Mr Laird said.