16 February 2015

Professional activist groups should have tax deductibility status removed

Professional anti-mining activist groups who engage in illegal protests or who encourage others to do so should not qualify for tax deductibility NSW Minerals Council CEO, Stephen Galilee said today.
“There are activist groups out there that campaign against the livelihood of mining workers and their families; who engage in illegal protests that put themselves and others in harms way; and encourage others to break the law.  These protest organisations should not receive special tax treatment,” NSW Minerals Council CEO, Stephen Galilee said today.
“The fact that these groups can ask the public for money, promoting donations as being ‘tax deductible’ is an outrageous abuse of taxpayer dollars.”
“Giving groups like this Deductible Gift Recipient (DGR) status allows them to stand side-by-side with important organisations like The Salvos, Mission Australia and Oxfam – groups that actually help people,” Mr Galilee said.
An analysis of organisations with tax deductible gift recipient status reveals a number of groups whose leadership have either been involved in illegal protest, advocated ‘civil disobedience’ or campaigned against mining jobs.
Serial protester and spokesperson for Lock the Gate, Georgina Woods, was arrested in 2009 along with other protesters, for shutting down the Tomago Aluminium Smelter.  Woods campaigned against Coalpac’s Lithgow mines in 2013 and has been a spokesperson for the illegal protesters in the Leard State Forest near Boggabri.  Lock the Gate enjoys DGR status.
Another regular at mining protests, Carmel Flint, is a Director of activist outfit the Sunrise Project and regional coordinator for Lock the Gate.  Flint was arrested at the Leard State Forest after attaching herself to a bulldozer.  The Sunrise Project enjoys DGR status.
Nature Conservation Foundation CEO, Kate Smolski, was arrested at a protest in 2007 and has written a blog advocating the need for ‘civil disobedience’.  The Nature Conservation Foundation enjoys DGR status.
“Taxpayers reasonably expect that only legitimate charitable organisations have the ability to offer tax deductibility for donations.  Groups that flout the law or encourage others to do so, should not receive special treatment by the Australian Tax Office.  We are calling on the Australian Government to review the DGR status of all these groups and withdraw it from those that are associated with illegal activity or campaign against the legitimate livelihood of hard working Australians,” Mr Galilee said.


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