Government subsidies to green groups must end
The Victorian, New South Wales and Federal Governments' have been using taxpayer funds to support advocacy organisations which encourage radical behavioural change in the community.
According to the Institute of Public Affair's Green Groups and the Government Report, activist organisations have been given over $10million of taxpayer funds since 2004.
Funding to these organisations has been distributed through a series of grants and programme funding rounds overseen by each government. In some cases, the funds have been specifically provided 'to assist with salaries and salary on-costs for executive and administrative staff; office accommodation rental; electricity, gas, phone and other similar charges; essential office supplies and equipment; staff and volunteer training; photocopying and printing costs; and travel costs incurred on behalf of the organisation.'
Upon receiving support, these organisations have used public funds to promote their radical economic and cultural agendas to the wider community, including impressionable school children.
Often operating under the guise of environmental altruism, these organisations have campaigned against the coal and logging sectors, residential land release, carbon tax compensation, lower taxes and road, power station and dam construction.
While the official objectives and emphasis of each organisationvaries, their overriding philosophical motivations are the same - to fundamentally change the way Australians, consume, behave and act.
The idea that an Australian government would actively seek to reduce the living standards of the general public is an anathema to ordinary Australians. Yet this is precisely what these Governments' did during their multi-term reign.
There are two key recipient organisations which warrant specific mention, Environment Victoria and the Wilderness Society.
In the case of Environment Victoria, this is an organisation which is committed to putting thousands of Victorian coal industry workers in the La Trobe Valley out of work. For many Victorian taxpayers, it will no doubt be strange to learn that despite their elected Governments' claiming to support the local coal sector, they were also funnelling $4 million into an organisation seeking its total destruction.
prime example of the same thing taking place in NSW occurred with the financial support provided to environmental activist group, theWilderness Society. The Wilderness Society regularly campaigns against major project developments throughout NSW. They do so because they have an ideological objection to large scale development. In their words, the Wilderness Society believes that...
...'if it can't be proven beyond doubt that a development will not impact on the environment, a community, or existing industries, it should not go ahead. It's as simple as that'.
By holding such an uncompromising position, it seems impossible for any government intent upon improving living standards to find common ground with such an organisation. Yet despite this, the NSW Government provided them with substantial sums of public funds.
Sadly, examples of contradictory policy settings within government are not particularly hard to find. In fact, the two-faced nature of government policy priorities in this space is honeycombed throughout every single environment related portfolio.
What is evident from the IPA's Report is that the former Victorian and NSW Governments', and the current Federal Government, have each failed to enforce suitable checks and balances over the allocations of government funds to third party groups.
In each case, third party funding arrangements have been exposed as being poorly targeted, politically biased, weakly monitored and operationally irrelevant in terms of serving a credible function of government.
Additionally, the growth of these funding abuses represents a worrying trend in the expansion of a dangerous duopoly between green groups and government.
In order to remedy the situation, the current Victorian, NSW and Federal Governments' should each commence an extensive review of their third party funding practices. The goal of this effort should be to restore the community's faith, stop the reckless waste, and put to an end the abuse of public funds.
Australian taxpayers, overtaxed as they already are, deserve and expect nothing less.