The Left’s Hypocrisy: Why Should ENGOs Keep DGR Status?

As former NSW Premier Jack Lang once said: "Always back the horse named self-interest, son. It'll be the only one trying.''

Thu 13 Jun 24


Three items popped up over the weekend.

The First issue

The Australian Conservation Foundation (or the ACF) put up a Facebook post over the weekend that said:

“144 plants and animals were added to Australia’s threatened species list last year. Our environment is in crisis, and the government is ignoring nature’s cries for help.”

The Australian Conservation Foundation

A picture of a healthy koala asleep in the folk of a tree accompanied this, which clearly sought to imply that koalas were amongst those that were added…they were not.

These are standard features of advertising by not-for-profit environmental groups. The ACF clearly does not do its homework, and if it does, it is happy to practice a significant level of hypocrisy by providing misleading and deceptive information.

Fortunately, the Commonwealth has recognised the need for monitoring and has committed funding to a National Koala Monitoring Program. The CSIRO has been commissioned to deliver this program and recently released a 2024 update of the National Koala Population estimates. Not surprisingly, with monitoring underway, the estimates of the koala population have jumped dramatically.

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What the environmentalists do know is deforestation does not occur in State-owned forests in NSW, WA, Victoria, or Queensland.  Two of these States have locked up State forests to forestry, although WA is allowing mining in areas of State Forests.  Not one bit of noise on this from the ‘greenies’.  NSW has the most regulated State Forestry operations in the world!

On Tuesday, Four Corners ran a story on land clearing for wind farms – with ACF represented in the program. The representative was asked why ACF had not opposed any of the land clearing for wind farms across Australia.  They had no answer.

There were probably no donation possibilities attached to opposing wind farms despite the permanent destruction of native habitat from their supporting public, and any opposition would not fit with their corporate branding: very important!  Forget about the hypocrisy!

Wind power is essential for Australia to meet its green energy targets — but we’re not even halfway there, and the issue is becoming increasingly politicised. Footage courtesy of @ABCNewsIndepth.

This is not surprising, as the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (or the ACNC) website’s latest figures show that over 90% of the income is private donations. It pays to keep issues alive if they are not the full truth, mainly when nearly 60% of the income goes on employee costs!

The balance is classified as Other Expenses,” which are not itemised and, therefore, also very likely to include associated employee costs. 

Such high employee and associated costs are not the exceptions regarding details revealed for environmental not-for-profits with income gift tax deductibility (DGR) status.

As for the Second Issue:

NSW has 39 operating coal mines, with around 85% of their production being thermal coal, which makes up two-thirds of Australia’s total thermal coal production. Whilst the NSW Treasury in 2021, in a technical paper, concluded that global demand for coal considerably

In fact, according to The Australian report on 10 June, thermal coal exports from NSW to China have jumped from 3.57 million tonnes a year to 31.9 million tonnes in one year, an increase of 28.33 million tonnes, or nearly a ninefold increase!

Since lifting its ban on Coal, Australian exports of coal to China have surged over the last year. Footage courtesy of @theaustralian.

Quite extraordinary if climate change from CO2 emissions is a global consideration.  But apparently, it is permissible for the non-Western democracies to burn coal. 

Have the Greens or not-for-profit environmentalists made any noise at the increase?  Not a peek.  Have they made any noise about the coal going to a country that is building new coal-fired power stations when they are insistently at the closure of the same plants within Australia?

Are these grounds for the charge of hypocrisy? 

Or are they aware that the coal royalties pay for the trip to the hospital’s ED?  Are they aware that coal royalties fund schools where they drop their children each term day?  Is self-interest the fundamental determinant of what is a viable protest?

And finally, the Third Issue:

The media ran a story on the King’s Birthday long weekend about the great swathes of native forest that have been cleared in the Kosciuszko National Park for the site of the transmission lines from Snowy 2.0 to the main grid. 

Yes, The National Parks Association of NSW (or the NPA) sought judicial review of a 2022 decision by the then NSW minister for environment and heritage, James Griffin, that exempted the Snowy 2.0 project from a long-standing ban on new overhead power lines in the park.

Snow Gums Boardwalk and Main Range views 02
The NPA will clear 100 hectares of the Kosciuszko National Park for overhead transmission lines, the first to be constructed in a national park for 50 years! (Photo Credit: DPR under Creative Commons Licence 4.0)

The NPA estimated 100 hectares of 690,000 hectares would need to be cleared.  However, Chief Judge of the Land and Environment Court in December 2023 dismissed the application.  The National Parks and Wildlife Service had agreed to the new transmission lines through the Park.

It is the first time in 50 years that overhead transmission lines will be constructed in a national park. The lines will be visible over 200 square kilometres of the park and the neighbouring state forest.

Generally, the Greenies are silent about wind farms, solar farms, and transmission lines, leaving the local residents to take up the fight—locals who are not as resourced as the ‘green’ movement.

Hypocrisy is the practice of claiming to have higher standards or more noble beliefs than is the case. The selective nature of the green movement projects and the DGR status may drive such conduct. 

It is about the money! Not the issue.


  • Jack Rodden-Green

    Jack Rodden-Green, with 30 years of experience as a forester in New South Wales, combines a deep understanding of forestry with legal training to address social and environmental issues.


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