Leader of The Nationals David Littleproud is calling for a review into the Australian Conservation Foundation’s (ACF) charitable status.
Mr Littleproud has asked Charities Commissioner Sue Woodward AM to investigate the ACF, following an intimidatory letter that was sent to a New South Wales farmer.
The ACF’s letter demands answers into what it calls “potentially illegal land clearing”. It threatens to “take this matter further” and make “public statements about the clearing”.
Mr Littleproud said the letter was intimidatory and came despite the ACF having no proof or knowledge about the property and the ACF had no right to interfere with personal property or defame members of the community.
“The tone of ACF’s letter is clearly intimidatory,” Mr Littleproud said.
“The ACF has a charitable status and I’m calling on the Charities Commissioner to step in and ensure that the ACF is adhering to the rules of what a charity status is.
“I have written directly to the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC) about this concerning issue, particularly whether the letter breaches ACF’s obligations under Governance Standard five.
“A registered charity must always act in responsible manner with care and diligence in all its activities.
“I believe the ACF’s conduct now needs to be reviewed, to ensure it is meeting its behavioural responsibilities as a charity. The interference of the ACF should not be tolerated by ordinary Australians.”
Mr Littleproud added activist groups such as the ACF were becoming increasingly emboldened in the face of Labor’s anti-farming agenda and had started to take the law into their own hands, as if they are nature’s police force.
“Australia already has some of the world’s strictest native vegetation protection laws, set through state governments, that had been internationally recognised and credited for meeting our Kyoto commitment.
“The states already impose strict vegetation regulative frameworks on farmers through punitive vegetation protection laws. Farmers are in fact among the most nurturing people of all when it comes to the environment. ACF’s bullying is an overreach and must be stopped.”