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FWCA applauds action on activism

Forest & Wood Communities Australia has welcomed the Federal Government’s proposed toughening of the legislation which will strip activist organisations which engage in illegal activity of their charity status.

The announcement was made by the Assistant Minister for Finance, Charities and Electoral Matters last week and will give forest workers some reassurance that those who disrupt their workplaces and damage their equipment will have their funding streams cut off.

FWCA Chairman Steve Dobbyns said it was about time real action was taken to curb the illegal and damaging attacks on lawful timber harvesting.

“FWCA does not oppose freedom of speech or the right to protest, but for too long organisations such as the Bob Brown Foundation have enjoyed charity status while routinely putting lives in danger, destroying law-abiding workers’ livelihoods and causing mental anguish for timber families,” he said.

“It’s galling for people who work in the timber industry to see these activist organisations continue to effectively be funded by the government through their charity status.

“Especially galling is the flaccid response to the blockades, trespassing, vandalism and work health and safety breaches carried out by charity-funded eco-terrorists particularly in the timber sector.

“A strengthening of the legislation is long overdue and very welcome.”

Mr Dobbyns said the worst offender was the Bob Brown Foundation, which showed in its last financial report that it had raised $1.4million in donations and other sources through illegal activity and by exploiting its charity status.

The money is then used to fund research to support the BBF’s anti-forestry fund-raising campaigns, and to train activists in illegal activity with guides such as A Field Guide to Monkey Wrenching which includes instructions on how to conduct deadly eco-terrorism techniques such as tree spiking.

“The BBF has a long history of illegal activity which is in breach of the current charity laws and the question needs to be asked why it has not already been stripped of charity status,” Mr Dobbyns said.

“And it is not only the BBF in Tasmania. They have shown similar organisations in other timber production states how easy it is to create a charties-subsidised business model out of illegal activity.

“They make a mockery of the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission while destroying the livelihoods of regional Australians and misleading the public about sustainable, renewable, world-certified timber harvesting.”

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