Donations to environment organisations in Australia are tax deductible as long as the organisation in question is listed on the Commonwealth Register of Environmental Organisations. This listing gives an organisation Deductible Gift Recipient (DGR) status. A parliamentary inquiry is looking into the Register, largely at the behest of the mining industry.
This report begins by outlining the fast growing campus divestment movement, globally and in Australia, and explores the debate about the ‘moral university’ and fossil fuels. It then explores the first national poll to assess public attitudes towards universities’ ethics and investments, conducted following the national controversy around the ANU divestment decision.
The survey data show broad support for universities investing ethically, and for the idea that universities should avoid fossil fuel investments. The data suggest university divestment decisions would attract more support than criticism from the public and alumni.
Prior to the 2014 Budget the Government asked the Shepherd Commission of Audit to report on public spending. They did not include in its remit the cost of tax expenditures – money which could be collected but, because of concessions, is not.
The Abbott Government, as part of its ‘budget repair’ efforts, wanted in the 2014 Budget to increase the pension age to 70 and to restrict pension indexation to the price index, meaning that the pension will fall relative to general community standards. It has now walked away from CPI indexation in the face of overwhelming community opposition, but is still looking for pension savings.
The Renewable Energy Target (RET) requires electricity retailers to purchase a specified amount of renewable energy (the target) from certified generators of renewable energy.
At present burning native woodchips or other biomass, is not a certified form of renewable energy under the RET. Including biomass burning in the RET will cause a number of direct and indirect problems, including displacement of solar and wind in the RET cap, reducing investment in those technologies, and environmental harm caused by continued logging of native forests - a practice already highly subsidised.