Showing posts with label Great Barrier Reef. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Great Barrier Reef. Show all posts

Monday, 1 October 2018

It appears the Australian Government's $487.6 million* grant to the Great Barrier Reef Foundation may end up paying for little more than ‘feel good’ greenwashing exercises



The Guardian, 26 September 2018:

Great Barrier Reef scientists were told they would need to make “trade-offs” to the Great Barrier Reef Foundation, including focusing on projects that would look good for the government and encourage more corporate donations, emails tabled in the Senate reveal.

The documents, including cabinet briefing notes, contain significant new details about the workings of the foundation and the government decision to award it a $443m grant, including:

The executives of mining, gas and chemicals companies – and international financial houses that actively back fossil-fuel projects – were among the guests at a six-star retreat hosted by the foundation less than a month after the grant was announced;

The media companies Foxtel and Fairfax and the tech giant Google are among a tightly held list of donors to the foundation;

The only CSIRO employee contacted about the grant before the announcement in April was in Patagonia, and did not get the email. Documents have previously revealed that the government’s peak science agency was cut out of the decision to award the grant;

In August, as scrutiny of the grant intensified, public servants pushed to block a long-planned meeting between the then science minister, Michaelia Cash, and the head of the foundation, Anna Marsden, because of concern about the “optics”.

Emails sent by staff at the Australian Institute of Marine Science outline how government expectations, the ability to leverage private donations and public perceptions “may drive the [foundation] to prioritise shorter-term research initiatives in order to demonstrate progress and return on investment”.

“Where it becomes challenging is that … interventions with the largest future benefit also take the longest to develop,” the institute’s executive director of strategic policy, David Mead, wrote in an email to colleagues. 

 “Among other trade-offs, we will need to determine to what degree we focus on quick wins or whether we progress longer-term strategic interventions and accept that we will only partially progress them during the next five years (perhaps with little outward visibility of success/progress).”

The emails also reveal an initial state of uncertainty about how a $100m allocation for reef restoration and adaptation would be handled.

Three weeks after the announcement about the money, Mead was trying to get answers about how the grant would be allocated.

“I followed up with the granting agreement, did not really get an answer other than they are working on it over the next month,” Mead wrote on 18 May. “So we will just have to watch this space.

“Once the thing is signed by GBRF we are going to need them to make some definitive statements one way or the other, as everyone is wondering and I don’t want the team to destruct … ”

Emails between staff at the industry, innovation and science department reveal discussion about the “optics” of a long-planned meeting between Cash, Marsden and the chief executive of institute, Paul Hardisty.


Note

* The total Great Barrier Reef Foundation grant was for $487,633,300.

Friday, 31 August 2018

Will the Australian Government continue its policy of harrassment and intimidation in relation to Australia's national public broadcaster?


This was the situation before Malcolm Turnbull was politically beheaded by the hard right of the Liberal Party and Scott Morrison installed as the new Australian Prime Minister.....

Lenore Taylor is Guardian Australia's editor. She has won two Walkley awards and has twice won the Paul Lyneham award for excellence in press gallery journalism.

She has been a journalist for over thirty years and covered federal politics for over twenty-two years. 

Despite being invited onto the ABC "Insiders" program as a political journalist and editor, she found that pressure appeared to have been placed on that program to remove its video of her one of comments from its Twitter feed.



The Great Barrier Reef Foundation denies there was any prior due diligence conducted concerning the $487,633,300.00 grant.


“We had to certainly demonstrate value for money and our track record,” she said.

Once this particular cat was out of the bag ABC "Insiders" decided on 360 degree change of direction or suddenly remembered what being an independent public broadcaster actually means - readers can make up their own minds as to motive.

Remembering that as federal treasurer Scott Morrison led the charge to savagely cut ABC funding, the question that needs answering now is "Will he continue to bash the ABC by allowing minsters to apply inappropriate pressure on management and staff to alter editorial decisions?"

The real reason Turnbull gave the Great Barrier Reef Foundation $487.6 million with few strings attached and a short deadline on the spend

The Saturday Paper, 18-24 August 2018:

Picture the scene: three men in a room, two of them offering the third the deal of a lifetime.

The pair say they will give the man’s little outfit – which has assets of only about $3 million, turnover of less than $8 million and just a handful of staff – a $444 million contract, under terms yet to be negotiated. The offer comes out of a clear blue sky, totally unsolicited by the lucky recipient. For this little organisation, it is like winning the lottery, except they didn’t even buy a ticket.

Such a deal would be exceptional, even in the corporate world. It would have been exceptional even if the pair making the offer had been, say, investment bankers, and the third man the head of a tech start-up.

But they weren’t. Two of them were the prime minister of Australia and his environment minister, and the third was the chairman of a charitable organisation called the Great Barrier Reef Foundation. All three do have backgrounds as bankers, however: Malcolm Turnbull, Josh Frydenberg and the foundation’s John Schubert worked with Goldman Sachs, Deutsche Bank and Commonwealth Bank respectively.

The question is why it was done this way. Why solicit this little organisation, of which most people would never have heard, to be the recipient of the biggest such grant ever made in Australia? Why was the money given without tender and without any prior grant proposal? Why, instead of providing the money a bit at a time, subject to satisfactory performance as assessed on an annual or biannual basis, was six years’ worth of funding provided in one lump on June 28, less than three months after that first meeting?

Geoff Cousins thinks he knows the answer.

Cousins is a former president of the Australian Conservation Foundation. Perhaps more importantly, he is a corporate boardroom heavyweight. For 10 years, he was an adviser to John Howard.

“It’s a most cynical piece of accounting trickery,” he says of the Barrier Reef grant. 

“A piece of chicanery. That’s the only way I can describe it.”

To explain why, he traces back several years, to the government’s desperate attempts to persuade UNESCO, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, that it was a good steward of the Great Barrier Reef, and that the reef World Heritage area should not be declared to be “in danger”.

To that end, the government had promised, under its Reef 2050 Plan, to invest more than $700 million in measures to protect one of the world’s great natural wonders.
“For the Department of the Environment and Energy to grant over $440 million to a small charity that didn’t even prepare an application form or ask for the grant is inconceivable!”

“They made a commitment, the Australian government, to the World Heritage listing committee, to spend $716 million on the Barrier Reef, prior to 2020,” Cousins says. 

“But they have spent just a fraction of that, and there is no way that in the remaining 18 months or less that they can reach that target, which raises the potential of the reef being put on the endangered list.”

In Cousins’s view, someone must have realised the trouble the government faced in meeting its spending targets on time. His guess is Frydenberg.

“Even if you started now, you couldn’t actually spend that money. There’s not a list, not a pipeline of projects approved and ready to go,” Cousins says.

“So Malcolm, then putting on … his business head, his accounting head, says ‘Well, all we’ve really got to do is make sure the money moves from the government’s accounts to the bank account of some other private or not-for-profit institution, then the money is spent.’ But the money hasn’t really been spent at all. Even the CEO of the foundation says it won’t all be spent for six years.”

If you tried that kind of dodge in the corporate world, Cousins says, “your accounting firm would say … they would have to qualify your accounts”.

Cousins makes a very strong circumstantial case. It is true the federal government has grossly underspent on its UNESCO commitment, and that the money given to the reef foundation will go much of the way to making good on that funding promise.

It is true also that UNESCO has become increasingly critical of the government’s performance protecting the reef. Last year’s meeting of the World Heritage Committee noted in particular that progress on achieving water-quality targets was too slow to meet the agreed time frame. As it happens, the largest single item on the reef foundation’s to-do list is improving water quality, with $201 million allocated to it.

Read the full aticle here.

Friday, 24 August 2018

Federal Labor promises to pursue return of dodgy grant to Great Barrier Reef Foundation


Excerpt from email sent out over Labor Senator Kristine Keneally's signature on 17 August 2017:

On April 29 Mr Turnbull announced the largest donation of taxpayers money to a private foundation in Australian history.


That's why we're calling on Mr Turnbull to return the reef money. Here's what we know so far:
  • There was no tender process for the donation and the foundation never applied for the money.
     
  • The Prime Minister was present at the meeting with the foundation and he personally told the chair, Dr John Schubert about the donation. It appears no public servants were present.
     
  • Before receiving the donation the budget for the foundation was only $9 million and it only employed six full time staff.
     
  • The negotiations for  the contract that governs the half a billion dollars of taxpayers' money only began after the money had been announced and committed by the government.
     
  • The foundation has acknowledged the biggest threats to the reef include climate change and land clearing, yet the foundation has made clear none of its work goes to act against climate change or land clearing.
     
  • All the probity checks and balances which ordinarily apply to expenditure by government agencies will not apply to spending decisions made by the foundation.
Effectively, half a billion dollars of taxpayers’ money has been given away without process, probity or policy justification.
 
The future of the reef should not be determined behind closed doors by Mr Turnbull’s mates......

Labor will continue to pursue this through the Senate Inquiry process and all other avenues available to the opposition.

Tuesday, 21 August 2018

Great Barrier Reef: $487.63 million to do little more than sit by the bedside of a dying reef system?


The Sydney Morning Herald, 7 August 2018:

The Great Barrier Reef Foundation has had some good fortune that few environmental NGOs could count on. The $444 million it was granted by the government earlier this year dwarfs its previous budgets by a large multiple. Having worked in two small environmental charities of a similar operating budget and staffing to the pre-windfall foundation, I can confirm getting so much money without even applying for it is far beyond anyone’s wildest dreams.

Still, the biggest questions about the GBRF windfall don’t relate to its good luck in an opaque government decision, or even its connections to the fossil fuel industry. 

These are entirely valid concerns, but they risk eclipsing the bigger significance of the government’s move.

What we also need to ask is: what does the foundation do? What are its outputs, its activities? And why would the federal government be so keen to direct such a huge chunk of funding to those activities?

At best, the government’s massive funding dump is a long-shot attempt to save a few bits of the reef from inevitable degradation. At worst, it’s a distraction from that fate – and a diversion from addressing its causes.

The foundation has standard governance structures, and the support of credible, dedicated scientists. But what it does it essentially triage.

It’s now clear the government understands that even in the best climate scenario, the Great Barrier Reef will not survive in its recent form. The Department of Environment and Energy acknowledged this just last month. Even the Queensland tourism industry has publicly come to terms with the certainty that the reef will continue to suffer from climate change.

Scientists have been telling us since the 1980s that even modest climate change is a threat to coral reefs. Corals are so sensitive to changes in temperature that even in the best case warming scenario – achieving the 1.5 C stretch goal of the Paris Agreement - it’s now estimated that only 10 per cent of the world’s reefs will survive in their current form. At 2C, none are expected to escape “severe degradation and annihilation”.

The foundation delivers projects focused on “resilience, restoration and innovation”. That means doing its best to protect and restore the reef. It notes climate change is the biggest threat, but it does not address greenhouse gas emissions, at either a local or systemic level.

Its activities are similar to those we’ve seen from several other reef-focused initiatives and programs in recent years: breeding resilient corals, establishing small refuges, developing monitoring tools, and supporting species such as turtles and dugongs.

Projects like these have been allocated hundreds of millions of dollars of federal government funding through various programs over the years, including water quality and run-off management along with contentious projects to removing Crown of Thorns starfish, and more radical measures such as underwater fans to drive cooler water from the depths. The foundation, for its part, reported recently on testing of a polymer “sun shield”, noting that the technology would only scale to smaller, “high value or high risk” parts of the reef.

A good case can be made that these experiments are pragmatic. Even if emissions stop tomorrow, locked-in warming will continue to ravage the reef for the next few decades.

The foundation counts respected research institutions among its partners, and scientists such as Professor Ove Hoegh-Guldberg of the University of Queensland are on its scientific advisory board. For Hoegh-Guldberg, who sounded the alarm on the threat of climate for coral reefs in 1999, the foundation provides an important opportunity to educate corporations on the dire state of the Great Barrier Reef and climate in general. Again, its scientific review processes have not been questioned.

However, it’s important to remember that there's no guarantee these “resilience” activities will succeed against a backdrop of waters reaching temperatures deadly to coral. Whether portions of a complex marine ecosystem can be preserved, and in what form, is still very much unknown. Professor Terry Hughes, a contender for world leading coral reef expert, is dubious; in a Nature paper he found that water quality and fishing pressure – two key ways of improving resilience - made little difference in the face of devastating warm surges.

BACKGROUND


Sunday, 19 August 2018

The first unintended consequence of Malcolm Turnbull's perverse $487M grant to the small Great Barrier Reef Foundation surfaces


The Sydney Morning Herald, 15 August 2018:

The Turnbull government's claim its $444 million grant to the Great Barrier Reef Foundation would spur private donations has been disputed by a leading coral scientist who says funding for his own venture has dried up in the wake of the cash splash.

Charlie Veron, a marine biologist dubbed "the godfather of coral" for discovering more than one-fifth the world's coral species, said US donors to his Corals of the World website dropped plans to donate $60,000 once they saw "the Australian government was going to pour a fortune" into reef projects.

"My source of funding has completely stopped," Dr Veron said.

Dr Veron said his website, a decade in the making, would be crucial for any future recovery work on the reef, such as the $100 million reef restoration and adaptation program that will now be under the foundation's stewardship.

Dr Veron said he met last week the foundation head, Anna Marsden, who said she "didn't have any money that could go" to his project despite it needing $200,000, or one-quarter of 1 per cent of the government's largesse, to survive.

"The whole thing is just a mystery to me," he said. "It's a drop in the bucket if ever there was one."....

A foundation spokeswoman said Dr Veron had been one of "a number of organisations [that] have expressed an interest" in seeking funds.

"At a recent meeting, we advised Dr Veron that a process was being established to consider proposals under the Reef Trust Partnership," she said. "We will consider proposals for funding once the governance and advisory framework is established and a process for applications has been approved."

Fairfax Media approached Josh Frydenberg, the environment and energy minister, for comment.

"Perverse outcomes are going to be part of a process that wasn't thought through," Tony Burke, Labor's environment spokesman, said. "The due diligence [into the Foundation before the grant was made] was a joke."

Mr Burke said it was possible that less private funding would available for reef projects than before as a result of "decision making with almost no formal process".

The foundation spokeswoman said that the non-profit will continue to make the raising of private funds "a focus and responsibility, so we can amplify the impact of the government’s investment".....

Dr Veron said donors to his site had poured in $2.5 million to build the most complete record of corals that would be critical for efforts to restore reefs in the future. For instance, it has identified and made available information of eight coral species that appear to be able to resist bleaching.

Wednesday, 8 August 2018

Great Barrier Reef Foundation: waiting for the inevitable crash


Mainstream media reports that Australian Prime Minister & Liberal MP for Wentworth Malcolm Turnbull (former director Goldman Sachs), Minister for Environment and Energy & Liberal MP for Kooyong Josh Frydenberg (former director Deutsche Bank Australia) and Chair of the Great Barrier Reef Foundation & Member of the Business Council of Australia John Schubert (former chair Commonwealth Bank) met on 9 April 2018 to discuss the allocation of a grant valued at in excess of AU$487.6 million to the foundation.

It was also reported that no officials from the Department of the Environment and Energy were present at that meeting when the grant offer was made and apparently accepted.

Less than ten weeks later the grant was formally approved without meeting all relevant provisions in the Commonwealth Grants Rules and Guidelines 2017.

The Great Barrier Reef Foundation with a staff of only six full-time employees now has no more than 6 financial years to spend this large sum, which represents est. 69.66 per cent of funds held in the federal government operated Reef Trust since 2014 and 97.52 per cent of additional funds received by the trust on 29 April 2018.

Leaving the Reef Trust with an unspecified amount to fulfil other commitments over the next six years.

Due to obvious time constraints, the Great Barrier Reef Foundation’s board and corporate 'advisers' need to have a detailed financial and project action plan for 2018-19 immediately - if not sooner.

I suspect that I am not alone in waiting for waste of resources, duplication of effort, poorly targeted projects, lack of verifiable outcomes and other instances of  mismanagement to emerge over time, given the slapdash way this grant was put together.

Australian Government, GrantConnect:


GA ID: GA9190
Agency: Department of the Environment and Energy
Approval Date: 20-Jun-2018
Publish Date: 12-Jul-2018
Category: Natural Resources - Conservation and Protection
Grant Term: 27-Jun-2018 to 30-Jun-2024
Value (AUD): $487,633,300.00 (GST inclusive where applicable)

Ad hoc/One-off: Yes
Aggregate Grant Award: No

PBS Program Name: DoTE 17/18 Program 1.1: Sustainable Management of Natural Resources and the Environment
Grant Program: Reef Trust
Grant Activity: Reef Trust grant to the Great Barrier Reef Foundation
Purpose: The project will deliver activities which are consistent with the purposes of the Reef Trust Special Account Determination to achieve the Reef Trust Objectives and assist to protect the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area.

Internal Reference ID: 100000001841

Confidentiality - Contract: Yes
Confidentiality Reason(s) - Contract: Other:  Aspects of the Co-Financing Plan and the Communication and Stakeholder Engagement Plan 
Confidentiality - Outputs: No

Grant Recipient Details
Recipient Name: Great Barrier Reef Foundation
Recipient ABN: 82 090 616 443

Grant Recipient Location
Suburb: Brisbane
Town/City: Brisbane
Postcode: 4000
State/Territory: QLD
Country: AUSTRALIA

Grant Delivery Location
State/Territory: QLD
Country: AUSTRALIA



Third Sector, 7 June 2018:

The Great Barrier Reef Foundation (GBRF) has confirmed one of its board directors will step down as he faces criminal charges for cartel conduct.

Stephen Roberts, an investment banker and GBRF board director, has been charged by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) for allegedly playing a part of a criminal cartel during a $2.5 billion deal.

ACCC Chairman, Rod Sims, said: “These serious charges are the result of an ACCC investigation that has been running for more than two years.”

The charges, which included other banking chief executives and senior staff, were laid by the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions and will be determined in court.

Criminal charges relating to an alleged cartel by Citigroup, Deutsche Bank and the ANZ have been formally laid in relation to alleged cartel arrangements relating to trading in ANZ shares following a $2.5 billion institutional share placement in August 2015.


Tuesday, 31 July 2018

A trio of Great Barrier Reef Foundation directors decline to appear before a senate committee inquiry


On 19 June 2018, the Senate referred the 2018-19 Budget measure Great Barrier Reef 2050 Partnership Program to the Environment and Communications References Committee for inquiry and report on 15 August 2018.

The Great Barrier Reef Foundation made a written submission on 2 July 2018.

Yesterday it sent one of it newest directors (who apparently joined the board in the second half of 2017) and its managing director to give evidence before the inquiry.

However, three directors are seeking to avoid attending this inquiry  - John M Schubert (Chair), Grant King and Paul Greenfield.

This unwillingness is likely to be less about scheduling problems and more about close associations with petroleum, gas, mining* and finance industries, the foundation's membership list as well as the identity of donors who gave over $1.4 million to the foundation in 2017.


Three directors of a Great Barrier Reef charity entrusted with almost half a billion dollars in public money have refused to give evidence to a Senate inquiry scrutinising the controversial deal, raising the prospect they will be forced to appear.

Confidential Senate committee documents seen by Fairfax Media show that despite being offered five dates at which to attend the inquiry, the directors of the Great Barrier Reef Foundation say they are unavailable for questioning, variously citing overseas travel commitments, medical appointments, board meetings and other unspecified engagements.

The inquiry was launched following the Turnbull government’s decision to grant the small, business-focused charity $443 million to help rescue the reef.  The foundation has previously said it would “fully co-operate” with the probe.

The contentious Great Barrier Reef Foundation grant is to be spent on projects such as water quality improvements.

The Senate committee had specifically requested their attendance. The trio comprises the organisation’s chair John Schubert and board members Grant King and Paul Greenfield. Mr King is president of the Business Council of Australia and Dr Greenfield chairs the foundation’s scientific committee.

The foundation has advised that managing director Anna Marsden and another director, John Gunn, will give evidence.

The grant was awarded without a tender process and the government’s own expert agencies were not invited to apply.

The foundation plans to use the grant to leverage additional funds from the private sector.….

Fairfax Media understands the committee will ask the directors to find suitable dates to give evidence and advise them that the committee has the power to summon witnesses. According to the Parliament website, Senate committees rarely need to exercise such powers as witnesses are “normally very willing to place their views and the information they possess before the Senate to assist in an understanding of issues”…..

details of the deal show the foundation will receive almost $45 million to cover administration costs incurred by disbursing the funds. Fairfax Media previously reported the foundation would receive an upfront payment of $22.5 million plus interest. The recently published grant agreement shows the interest will be capped at $22 million, and any additional interest will be spent on reef projects.

The agreement also shows many aspects of the deal will remain confidential, including the strategy used by the foundation to attract private sector funds.

Greens oceans spokesman Peter Whish-Wilson criticised the secrecy and questioned the influence businesses would exert over how the grant was spent.
“How much of it is going to be used to promote the companies and essentially greenwash some of these businesses that are key polluters?” he said.

Businesses involved in the foundation include heavy polluters such as AGL, Peabody Energy, Shell, Rio Tinto and Qantas.

In a statement, the department said it accepted that the foundation “does not wish information about who it might approach or the strategies it might employ in its fundraising to be made public”.

The administration costs were “ reasonable given the scale of the grant” and any entity, including a government agency, would need adequate funds for such purposes, it said.

The department said the attendance at Senate hearings "is a matter for the foundation".

* The Great Barrier Reef Foundation classes Rio Tinto's RTFM Wakmatha (a Post Panamax bulk carrier on the Weipa to Gladstone run) as the foundation's research vessel in its so-called mission to save the reef.

UPDATE

As of 7.35pm 31 July 2018 the transcript of yesterday's public hearing has not been published.

However, mainstream media is reporting that Ms. Marsden gave evidence that in April 2018 Prime Minister Malcolm Bligh Turnbull and Environment and Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg met privately with the Chair of the Great Barrier Reef Foundation, John Schubert.

At this meeting an unsolicited and unscrutinised offer of over $45 million as a lump sum grant was made to Schubert as chair of the foundation.

This private meeting goes a long way towards explaining Schubert's reluctance to be questioned during this Senate inquiry.

Three former bankers meeting to carve out a large chunk of taxpayer dollars, probably felt comfortable enough to speak freely on a number of subjects.

Tuesday, 29 May 2018

Get Up!: Adani is paying for government staff to 'independently' assess Adani's mine.


Rio Tinto's RTM Wakmatha bulk carrier

Get Up!
is currently sending out an interesting email pointing out the close relationship between the Adani Group and government.


Given past behaviour of the Adani Group it is possible that it might also be considering looking to a small business focused, suspected 'greenwashing' front called the Great Barrier Reef Foundation, for assistance in the future.

Given the Turnbull Government's announcement of a $444 million grant gifted to the coal, ore, gas and petroleum export industries as well as bulk carrier fleets operating on the Australian east coast, by way of the Great Barrier Reef Foundation.

A foundation which classes Rio Tinto's RTFM Wakmatha (a Post Panamax bulk carrier on the Weipa to Gladstone run) as the foundation's research vessel in its so-called mission to save the reef.
https://www.marinetraffic.com
On Monday night 28 May 2018 the 'research' vessel was on the return trip north (destination Gove NT) sailing between the coast and Lizard Island. 

Two oil tankers were also travelling north behind it. 


Get Up! email, 28 May 2018:

Adani is paying for government staff to 'independently' assess Adani's mine.

The corporation has struck a mind-boggling deal that will see Adani pay up to $1.5 million in salaries, housing and vehicle costs for council employees who will directly assess parts of their coal project.1

Adani now has its tendrils deep in every level of our democracy. From local councils, to state governments, right through to our Federal politicians. Adani has infiltrated our democracy in a way that makes objective decision making virtually impossible.

Our Reef is on the brink, and so is our planet. If we're to stop this monstrous coal mine, we have to fight back against the huge influence dirty polluters have over our democracy.

Can you sign our open letter to Australian politicians demanding they get big polluters out of government?

This is only the latest sordid chapter in this country's big book of polluting politics.

From the beginning, there has been a revolving door of operators moving freely between Adani and political offices. Last Queensland election, an Adani lobbyist 'volunteered' to run Labor's election campaign.2

Resources Minister Matt Canavan stacked the board deciding whether or not to give $1 billion to Adani with his pro-coal friends.3 And when that didn't work, Trade Minister Steve Ciobo went out and changed the rules of government funding body EFIC (the Export Finance Insurance Corporation) to allow hundreds of millions in public money to fund projects exactly like Adani's coal mine.4

The fossil fuel industry and their vested interests are rotting our democracy from tip to root. If we are to get the real, urgent change we need, we need to clean them out on every level.

Sign our open letter demanding we get big polluters out of our politics.

It's not just Adani, either.
The Turnbull Government has just announced a plan to 'save the Reef'. Except instead of doing anything about climate change, this plan involves granting $444 million to an obscure group with links to climate-deniers. Their plan? Let "corporate interest help decide the science strategy and funding priorities."5


Yep. Nearly half a billion dollars for climate-deniers to work with big business to solve the problem. What could go wrong?

At the same time, the Government's Energy Security Board put out a call for energy companies to help implement Turnbull's new energy plan. Big polluters could be writing the rules they'll have to follow. Again, what could possibly go wrong?6

It's clear that our politicians, and especially this Turnbull Government, have shown us they are both incapable and unwilling to act on climate while they are dominated by climate deniers, the fossil fuel lobby and big coal donors.

Help get fossil fuels out of our democracy. Sign our open letter now.

It's time for a clean out.

Sam R and Jairaj, for the GetUp team.

References
[1] Adani to pay for Isaac council staff working on Carmichael mine activities, ABC Online, 28 May 2018
[2] Adani lobbyist Cameron ­Milner in Palaszczuk campaign, The Australian, 30 August 2017
[3] Conflicts of interest concerns over $900m Adani loan spark Senate estimates questions, ABC Online, 2 June 2017
[4] Coalition to allow government-backed loans to coalmines as banks hesitant, The Guardian, 11 September 2017
[5] Corporate figures to help decide Great Barrier Reef priorities under $444m grant, Sydney Morning Herald, 21 May 2018
[6] Energy Security Board asks companies for staff to deliver National Energy Guarantee, Australian Financial Review, 21 May 2018


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