Showing posts with label funding. Show all posts
Showing posts with label funding. Show all posts

Wednesday, 12 February 2020

Shorter Residential Aged Care Industry Message in 2020: If you personally pay us more we will treat you better


"If we expect people to pay more [in the future], we have to deliver much better care" [Catholic Health Australia chief executive Pat Garcia quoted in The Sydney Morning Herald, 9 February 2020]

ABC News, 9 February 2020:

Sydney's streets were thick with smoke as the blazes took hold on December 5 last year. 

That may explain why few noticed or cared about the final sitting day in Canberra.

But what happened in the Senate that day shows just how strong the ties that bind the aged care lobby and government really are.

At 9.30 that day, some crucial amendments to aged care legislation were introduced which would force nursing home to reveal how they spent their $20 billion of taxpayer funds each year — specifically, how much went to staff, food and "the amounts paid out to parent bodies".

Unlike hospital and child care centres, aged care facilities can employ as few staff as they like because there are no staff-to-resident ratios in nursing homes.

When it comes to food, a study of 800 nursing homes shows the average spend is just $6 a day.

The Senate vote was taking place just five weeks after 
the scathing interim report from the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety.

Among its findings of a "sad and shocking" system which was 
"inhumane, abusive and unjustified", the commissioners also commented on the lack of transparency in aged care, with the numbers of complaints, assaults and staff numbers all kept secret from the public.

"My amendments are all about transparency and accountability — 
and, boy, do we need more of this," said Senator Stirling Griff from Centre Alliance, who proposed the amendments.

When the crucial vote came, Labor, the Greens, Centre Alliance and Jacqui Lambie supported it. But the Government voted against it and, with the help of Pauline Hanson, the reform was defeated.

It might seem an odd choice for Pauline Hanson, who has previously rallied against the aged care sector for "rorting and malpractice", but it shouldn't be surprising that the Government voted it down.

The influence of lobbyists

The aged care industry has been successfully lobbying governments for years. The influence of the industry through government committees, think tanks and policies is well known and is being rightly questioned at the royal commission.

For example, when the Queensland Government proposed laws requiring nursing homes to publish their staff numbers last year, the federal Department of Health sent a six-page document arguing against it, saying it might "confuse or mislead" families and "appears to create a reporting burden on providers with no clear benefits to consumers".

If you think the Federal Government's objections sound a lot like those of the aged care lobby, you wouldn't be wrong.

In fact, the industry group Leading Aged Services Australia (LASA) argued in its own submission that few families would be interested in accessing a website with such information and that the numbers could be used "to push a particular medically based care model (which may be contrary to the preferences of residents)".

That's an argument LASA has been using for years. It's code for arguing against more registered nurses for fear it spoils the "home-like" atmosphere of an aged care facility.

Others might argue that the hundreds of stories told to the royal commission of poor wound care, misdiagnosis and failure to send sick residents to hospital may have something to do with that lack of a "medical model".

Currently there's no requirement, except in Victorian state run facilities, for an RN to be employed at a nursing home.

The aged care lobby doesn't want that to become a national trend.

Why can't we know how many staff there are?'

The industry and Federal Government's opposition to the argument against making the staff numbers public didn't wash with the Queensland Government.

"We report the number of teachers to students in classes, educators to children in child care, why the hell can't we know how many staff there are in aged care facilities?," said Queensland Health Minister Stephen Mills, who successfully passed the legislation and says he will "name and shame" nursing homes which refuse to make staff numbers public.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison will argue that the Government voted against the federal moves for financial transparency because it doesn't want to introduce any major reforms before the final report from the royal commission.

However, that excuse didn't stop the Federal Government from its massive reform of putting the publicly funded Aged Care Assessment system out to tender last year.

The move to privatise it was widely denounced by state ministers (including from the NSW Liberal Government), advocates and the medical profession.

But the aged care lobby groups are big supporters of the change…...

Read the full article here.


The Sydney Morning Herald, 9 February 2020:

...the federal Health Department revealed it was yet to implement key recommendations of the Australian Law Reform Commission's 2017 report on elder abuse. 

Responding to a question taken on notice at a Senate estimates hearing, Health Department bureaucrats this week said a "scoping study" was being done on a register of aged care workers, while "preparatory work" was under way on a serious incident response scheme for assaults in care. 

Labor's aged care spokeswoman, Julie Collins, said older Australians at risk of abuse deserved "immediate action, not years of inaction and delays". 

Official data shows there were 5233 assaults in residential aged care facilities in 2018-19. 

Catholic Health Australia outlined its proposed new means-testing rules in a pre-budget submission to the federal government.

There is a question begging to be answered here. 

If Scott Morrison and his Lib-Nats cronies go down the path of attempting to permanenltly conceal what amounts to institutionalised elder abuse, allows residential aged care providers to further entrench differing levels of care based on an ability of the frail aged to pay and goes ahead with further aged care services privatisation in order to avoid accountability - has Morrison himself calculated just how many elderly Australians will be likely to commit suicide soon after being told they will be entering residential aged care?

Friday, 31 January 2020

Clarence Valley, Lismore & Richmond Valley get $1 million each from Drought Communities Programme after discovery of yet another alleged Morrison Government 2019 election campaign funding rort caused grant criteria to be revised & broadened


The Daily Examiner, 29 January 2020:




Yes, the Clarence Valley has been 100% drought affected with most of the land officially in either the Drought or Severe Drought categories.

This along with the bushfires has makes 2019-20 a horror year for farmers and graziers.

So this federal government grant is most welcome.

However, Clarence Valley local government area - like Lismore and Richmond Valley - only became eligible when criteria for assistance was changed after it was discovered that, just an in the 'sports rorts affair', there had been an apparent manipulation of a grant programme's funding allocations just prior to the May 2019 federal election - when of the 14 councils announced eligible as a Coalition election commitment 13 were in Coalition-held electorates and just one was not as it was held by an Independent.

The plus for Nationals MP for Page, Kevin Hogan, is that now instead of one council in his electorate being given a Drought Communities Programme grant, there are now three four.

Richmond Valley, another Northern Rivers local government area, also receives a grant of $1 million. However it is in a federal electorate which has been held by the Australian Labor Party since 2004. 

Somewhat ironic that a move by Morrison & Co to assist Coalition electorates has ended up giving this particular Labor electorate a windfall.

Tuesday, 19 November 2019

Clarence Valley kids raise $7,000 in a day for the 'firies' and Angourie village residents raised $15,950 to give to their local bushfire brigade


The Daily Examiner, 16 November 2019, p.6:

For some of the 3000 students at 15 local public schools, the best way they could help local Rural Fire Service units was to mix up their socks. 

Or even paint their hair pink. While it’s not your usual method, the students banded together yesterday in a little bit of crazy dress to raise more than $7000. 

Students were encouraged to dress up, and give a gold coin donation to go towards local units who have been busy defending our communities from recent bushfires. 

Grafton High School SRC organisers Carmen Dundon and Natasha Clausen said they wanted to do something to give the crews some respite. 

“Quite often the RFS has to go back out after fighting fires and fundraise just to support themselves, so we thought we’d help them out,” Ms Clausen said. 

Initially organised between Grafton High and Grafton Public, word soon spread of the idea, and 15 schools participated with more than 3000 students taking part. 

“It grew way more than what we thought it would,” Ms Dundon said. “But everyone knows someone who has been affected, and it’s great to see the community come together.” 

Grafton High School principal Peter South said that it was an amazing effort from the students. 

“You can see the kids very much care and feel for other kids and understand how important the RFS is in keeping people safe,” he said.

“There was no hesitation, all the schools just jumped to be part of it.” 

Mr South said many local schools had already been feeding and clothing children affected by the fires, with school communities at Baryulgil and Nymboida in classrooms at Grafton Public while their schools were closed.

“Everyone has been doing their bit to chip in,” he said.

The Daily Examiner, 16 November 2019, p.7:

Angourie residents have raised almost $16,000 for the Wooloweyah bushfire brigade to say thank you for recent efforts. 

Rapturous applause was given to the Wooloweyah Fire Brigade and NSW Rural Fires Services at Angourie as the community rallied to raise $15,950 in response to their tireless efforts during the Shark Creek bushfire. 

The recent bushfire came perilously close to the village of Angourie and Angourie Residents and Ratepayers Association Inc president Grant Jennings thanked the fireys on behalf of everyone in the seaside town.

Expressing the sentiment of the community, one resident said they were grateful to the Wooloweyah RFS and other locals who “did such a gallant job protecting our houses in Angourie”. 

Mark Evans, from Wooloweyah Fire Brigade, said the money would go towards essential firefighting equipment.

The Daily Examiner, 16 November 2019, p.7: 

The biggest cheer to come from the Nymboida residents’ meeting came after local RFS captain Paul Johnston addressed the gathering. 

But Mr Johnston said the whole community deserved the praise. “It was the way everyone worked together that got us through this,” he said. 

“People like the ‘scratch brigade’ who worked so hard over the weekend, after the fire went through, going around making things safe, took so much pressure off us.” 

Mr Johnston said half a dozen or more residents had attached tanks and pumps to the back of utes and trucks and ridden around the village, dousing pockets of fire. 

“They were our unofficial support brigade and allowed us to concentrate on the fire front,” he said. 

He said the size and speed of the fire as it hit Nymboida made it impossible to halt. 

“We could not have stopped that fire with 100 trucks,” he told the meeting. 

He was not sure how many units were working on Friday night, but he estimated at least 20.....

Readers, you too can show your appreciation of the NSW Rural Fire Service by donating directly to your local fire brigade or by going to: 

https://www.rfs.nsw.gov.au/volunteer/support-your-local-brigade

You can also make a bank deposit to NSW RFS:

Account Name: NSW Rural Fire Service
Bank: Westpac BSB: 032-001 Account No: 171051


Queenslanders wishing to support their own rural fire services can donate at:

 https://www.rfbaq.org/donate-to-rfbaq


Wednesday, 4 September 2019

It wasn't enough that the Morrison Government gamed the rules and began an unofficial election campaign months before 11 April 2019 at taxpayers' expense - the fiddle appears to have continued right up to polling day


On the morning of Thursday 11 April 2019 Prime Minister & Liberal MP for Cook Scott Morrison visited the Australian Governor-General in order to formally dissolve Parliament at 8:30am and call a federal election. 

Once that was done a reasonable person would suppose the Prime Minister, along with every other MP and senator, would be obliged to use party and personal campaign funds until after polling day on 18 May. 

That may possibly have been the original intent when the rules were first drafted but over the years that has morphed into a loose obligation to use party and personal funds only after the official political party campaign launch.

These same rules also allow government ministers to campaign right up to polling day on other people's money by listing the expense claim as "Official Business", as well as getting free VIP jet travel around the country.

In 2019 Scott Morrison launched the Liberal Party campaign just 6 days out from polling day - playing the national electorate for fools

So instead of using Liberal Part funds from 11 April 2019 onwards, Scott Morrison spent $11,540 of taxpayers' money crisscrossing the country and staying overnight to give his stump speeches as well as glad handing voters and the party faithful. 

He also spent $1,786.40 on travel by Com Car at taxpayers' expense during the official federal election campaign. Morrison even made a Com Car claim on polling day.

These claims were on top of the est. $1,961.79 charge to taxpayers for fuel for his own car in the period which included the 38 day election campaign. 

That is a total of $15,389.19 charged to the taxpayer during the official federal election campaign. 

If he was an ethical politician he would immediately pay back that money back. 

See Scott Morrison's expense claims here.

The Deputy-Prime Minister & MP for Riverina Michael McCormack was even more of a drain on taxpayer wallets.

He spent $9,544 on overnight stays for his stump speeches and glad handing courtesy of the taxpayer and, a further $1,769.09 for campaigning in his own electorate.

Then there the $4,900 to travel to and from his own electorate on Day 14 of the official election campaign.

Taxpayer generosity apparently also extended to $4,373.52 in Com Car expenses so that he could campaign in comfort.

Then of course there was the est. $2,659.50 charge to taxpayers for fuel for his own car in the period which included the 38 day election campaign. 

That is a total of $23, 246.11 charged to the taxpayer during the federal election campaign. 

See Michael McCormack's expense claims here.

Readers can find other MP/Senator expense claims at https://www.ipea.gov.au/pwe.

However, if you want a quick summary.....

The Sydney Morning Herald, 1 September 2019:

Taxpayers copped millions of dollars in bills for flights, charters, hotels and luxury cars as politicians and their staff jetted around the country campaigning in the federal election. 
 

Ministers also kept charging taxpayers for travel right up to polling day, despite a convention that most expenses after the official campaign launches should be paid by the political party...... 

The records reveal that despite the government being in caretaker mode, cabinet ministers still claimed almost $550,000 in travel allowance, air fares and luxury car transport during the campaign period - for themselves alone. 

Shadow cabinet ministers claimed about $385,000 in similar expenses. Ministers usually travel with multiple staff such as media and policy advisers, meaning the true cost of those trips is likely to be many times higher. 

A detailed breakdown of staff campaign costs is not available. But across April, May and June, cabinet ministers' staff racked up nearly $5 million in travel expenses, and shadow ministers' staff had travel bills of about $1.6 million during that period....

National Party ministers spent more than most, with the outgoing Mr Scullion racking up more than $100,000 in taxpayer-funded expenses during the campaign, including $80,000 in charter flights. He declined to comment. 

Agriculture Minister David Littleproud billed taxpayers more than $65,000 for travel during the campaign period, including $46,000 in charter flights around regional Queensland....


The profligacy was not limited to the major parties, with Katter's Australian Party leader Bob Katter spending $60,000 on travel during the campaign, including $50,000 on charter flights. 

Former senator Fraser Anning, the far-right Queenslander who lost his seat, spent $11,250 on flights alone during the campaign, including trips to Melbourne, Perth and Adelaide.

Read the full article here.


Wednesday, 26 June 2019

News Corp, Morrison Government & mining lobby groups in concerted attack on environmental lawyers



The Attack.....

The Australian, 22 June 2019:

A taxpayer-funded network of environmental lawyers has been handed more than $2.5 million by state governments, helping the group to clog up courts and launch dozens of cases against gas and mining projects, including Adani’s Carmichael mine.
Environmental Defenders ­Offices in NSW and Queensland were awarded more than $1m from the Berejiklian government and almost $400,000 from the Palaszczuk government in 2017-18….

Resources Minister Matt Canavan yesterday called on the states to deprive the green lawyers’ groups of any more taxpayer funds.

“These EDOs are not defending the public interest but pursuing a political agenda,” he said.

“As such, they should not be receiving taxpayer support to ­destroy people’s jobs.”….

Leading business groups ­accused the EDOs of engaging in “vexatious litigation” which is ­delaying projects for years, damaging job-creation efforts and hindering the flow of ­royalties to states and territories.

“Frivolous and vexatious legal challenges to environmental ­approvals delay projects and threaten jobs in regional Australia,” Minerals Council chief executive Tania Constable said.

An Australian Petroleum Production & Exploration Association spokesman said the EDOs’ advocacy on climate change was out of step with their apparent role as a community legal centre for environmental cases.

“We have for some time questioned the role of the EDO and its public funding,” he said.

The Response.....

NSW Environmental Defenders Office (EDO NSW), 22 June 2019:

EDOs stand firm against attacks

We are a community legal centre of expert lawyers, proudly and unapologetically helping the NSW community to use the law to protect wildlife, people and our planet.


Environmental laws should not be for the few. They affect us all. Yet once again we are forced to defend the community's access to justice against attacks by a fossil fuel lobby aggrieved by the power our work provides to communities who seek to challenge the lawfulness and merit of their major projects.

EDO NSW's litigation work on behalf of our clients plays an important role, ensuring that people have access to justice and are able to exercise their rights under Australian law. People have a right to use the law to protect their family, homes and environment. To be clear, as public interest community legal centres, EDOs do not litigate on our own behalf, but represent clients (community groups, Aboriginal groups and individuals) who may otherwise be unable to have access to the justice system.

It’s disappointing to see, yet again, the Minerals Council and Australian Petroleum Production & Exploration Association demonstrating their lack of understanding of, and respect for, the rule of law. At their heart, these claims are an attack on our democracy and  we should all be very concerned.

The fossil fuel lobby has a track record of making the unsubstantiated claim that EDOs engage in vexatious litigation, and frankly it’s getting tired. Despite being over-utilised, this claim remains a troubling proposition. EDO NSW lawyers, who include some of the best in our field, take our professional responsibilities extremely seriously. Our 30 year track record is evidence of that. Not once in our history have our clients’ cases been found to be ‘frivolous or vexatious’.

Underpinning most of our litigation work is a question about whether the law has been complied with. That decision-makers apply the law is a fundamental feature of our democracy. Ensuring the law is complied with should be uncontroversial.


In other instances, our work interrogates whether approving a project is – considering all the circumstances – the correct or preferable decision. These are not simple questions. The answer lies in the weighting of a range of different factors. Our important work ensures that evidence proffered in support of a project is thoroughly tested. 

In a number of instances, including in the recent case concerning the proposed Rocky Hill coal mine, the economic benefits of the mine put forward by the mining company were found to be overstated, based on the evidence put forward by both the Government’s expert and our client’s.  Equally the economic negatives of that project - including social impacts and impacts on Aboriginal cultural heritage - were found to have been understated by the mining company.

Litigation is a small component of the work this office does on behalf of clients. When we do so, it is only after application of our casework guidelines and detailed analysis from senior legal experts to ensure there are merits in bringing a case.
EDO NSW also provides the community with free legal advice and education - work that does see us receive some State government grants. Our office operates a daily advice line providing free advice on matters of environmental and planning law.

The NSW Government has provided EDO NSW with funding for decades, irrespective of which party is in Government. This demonstrates a bipartisan understanding of our role and corresponding support for the provision of access to justice in this space - that is, allowing members of the community to understand and seek advice about NSW environmental and planning laws. 

Our work relates to ensuring that laws are applied correctly, and ensuring that evidence put forward by project proponents is tested in an appropriate and independent forum. Any changes to the law that erode community opportunities to participate in environmental decision-making would be very concerning. This could easily be seen as a blatant attempt to further prioritise the rights of coal mining companies over the rights of communities, including farmers, eco-tourism operators and others.


David Morris
CEO - Solicitor

Tuesday, 14 May 2019

Quality of Australian television & radio will take a dive under a re-elected Morrison Government



The ABC is facing "inevitable" job cuts and programming disruption if the Morrison government is returned to power, the national broadcaster's new managing director has warned.

In his first interview in the new job, David Anderson told Radio National's Patricia Karvelas that planning for two possible budget scenarios was at the top of his to-do list, after establishing a new leadership team.

One of those options is a budget in which the ABC's indexation funding is frozen for the next three years.

"If the Coalition is returned, then we have an $84 million budget reduction over the next three years," Mr Anderson said.

"Having been through a number of budget reductions to this point, I don’t see how we can avoid staff cuts and, I think, disruption to our content. I think it’s inevitable."
None of the options available for finding $84 million in savings were great, he said.

Monday, 13 May 2019

News Corp cries poor - wants local government funding



The comment of tweeter @Greg_MarineLab says it all:

"How very NewsCorp! Begging for a taxpayer handout while never paying any tax & subverting democracy...."

News Corp unsuccessfully lobbied a number of South Australian councils and, like the City of Tea TreeCampbelltown, Playford and Salisbury councils didn't want to prop the Murdochs up when in all probability it would mean raising rates.

InDaily, 3 May 2019:

InDaily has confirmed with several sources a senior delegation of News Corp executives, including South Australian executive general manager Ish Davies and Messenger Newspapers editor-in-chief Nadja Fleet, approached four north-eastern councils in March requesting significant investment – totalling at least $1.6 million over two years – to keep the print run of the local North Eastern Weekly afloat.

It has only taken the Murdoch's 32 years to run this once independent group of community newspapers into the ground.

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.

Thursday, 26 July 2018

Proof positive that money buys government policy?


Liberal MP for Warringah and soon to be Australian prime minister, Tony Abbott, in April 2012 at the Institute of Public Affairs 70th Anniversary celebration promised:

“I want to assure you that the Coalition will indeed repeal the carbon tax, abolish the Department of Climate Change, abolish the Clean Energy Fund. We will repeal Section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act, at least in its current form. We will abolish new health and environmental bureaucracies. We will deliver $1 billion in red tape savings every year. We will develop northern Australia. We will repeal the mining tax. We will create a one stop shop for environmental approvals. We will privatise Medibank Private. We will trim the public service and we will stop throwing good money after bad on the NBN. So, ladies and gentlemen, that is a big “yes” to many of the 75 specific policies you urged upon me…”

The Sydney MorningHerald on the subject of the IPA, 7 April 2016:

Four months from election and the people scratch their heads. Why, again, are we destroying the Reef for some billionaire Indian coalminer? Why fund private schools and de-fund public ones? Above all, how did Australia go from a country where the poor occasionally stole the goose from the common to one where the rich are consistently rewarded for stealing the common from the goose? The answer, at least in part, appears to be the IPA.

The IPA has three member senators, David Leyonhjelm, Bob Day and James Paterson, and a fourth-in-waiting with ex-human rights commissioner Tim Wilson running in the lower house. It also has several state MPs and members with regular media gigs – like IPA senior fellow Chris Berg (The Drum and Fairfax) and board member Janet Albrechtsen, whose recent column in The Ozpuffed Paterson and Wilson as "outstanding warrior[s] for the freedom cause". They all talk a lot about warriors – which is also what Abbott called Credlin.

But the IPA's real power is the charisma of wealth. At its 70th birthday gala dinner in 2013, Rupert Murdoch gave the keynote. NewsCorp's Andrew Bolt was MC and opposition leader Tony Abbott called the IPA "freedom's discerning friend". Gina Rinehart, George Pell, George Brandis and Alan Jones were guests…..

Still, the IPA then seemed like harmless cranks. Now it seems they're all but writing government policy. Even that's not bad in itself. The wealthy are allowed their clubs, and governments must get ideas from somewhere. But when the private interest of Big Money consistently presents as public interest, it's time to worry. Big time.

We've heard much lately of illegal developer funding, which caused the NSW Electoral Commission to withhold $4.4 million from the NSW Liberals. But developers aren't the only group who might seek influence, and brown paper bags are not the only vehicle.

The IPA has long insisted NGOs should be transparent, but it's notoriously secretive about its own sources of money. (Executive director John Roskam says its donors get intimidated). But revealed sources include all the bad boys of Big International Money: media, oil, tobacco, genetics, energy and forestry. Who benefits from IPA policy? They do.

In 2012, the IPA published "Seventy-Five Radical Ideas to Transform Australia". I haven't done the math, but I'd say over a third are now law or seriously discussed.

DeSmog reporting on the IPA, 17 July 2018:

Australia’s richest person, mining magnate Gina Rinehart, has been revealed as a key funder of the right wing think tank the Institute of Public Affairs (IPA) – a major pusher of climate science denial.

Rinehart’s company, Hancock Prospecting Proprietary Ltd (HPPL), donated $2.3m to the IPA in 2016 and $2.2m in 2017, according to disclosures made to the New South Wales Supreme Court.

As part of a long-running legal dispute over the use of company funds, Gina Rinehart’s daughter Bianca had served a subpoena to access documents that would have shed light on the two donations from HPPL to the IPA.

The IPA is an influential right wing think tank with close ties to Australia’s governing Liberal Party.  IPA fellows regularly appear in the media. The payments suggest that more than a third of the IPA’s income in 2016 and 2017 was from HPPL – majority-owned privately by Gina Rinehart.

According to Forbes, Rinehart was the seventh richest woman in the world in 2017 and Australia’s richest person, with current wealth estimated to be $17.6 billion.
The IPA is a registered charity but is not legally required to disclose its funders and has declined to reveal them in recent years, citing concerns that donors could be “intimidated”.

According to the court judgement, Bianca’s solicitors had been provided with a schedule of “donations and sponsorships” from HPPL where it was disclosed, the judgement said, “that HPPL paid or provided amounts to IPA in a total of $2.3 million for the 2016 financial year and $2.2 million in the 2017 financial year.”

The donations also raise questions about the way the IPA has disclosed the nature of its revenues. 

The IPA's 2017 annual report declared $6.1m of income but said that “86 per cent” had come from individuals. HPPL’s $2.2m donation constituted more than a third of the IPA’s income that year.

In 2016, the IPA reported that 91 per cent of donations were from individuals, but that year HPPL’s $2.3m donation constituted almost half the IPA's income of $4.96m that year.

DeSmog has emailed HPPL asking why it was supporting the IPA, if the donations were linked to specific work and if it was still a supporter. DeSmog also asked the IPA about the donations and if supporters should be concerned that so much if its income is derived from one person. IPA spokesperson Evan Mulholland replied: “No comment.”