Action needed on foreign interference in Queensland project approvals

23 October 2016

Statement by Michael Roche, Chief Executive of the Queensland Resources Council

A WikiLeaks email from a leading Australian green activist to his foreign and local rich list funders provides an extraordinary insight into the extent of the foreign, particularly United States, interference in Queensland resource project approvals.

The Queensland Resources Council calls on the federal government to re-establish the select Parliamentary Committee inquiry into taxpayer subsidies being provided for green activist interference in local project approvals. The inquiry’s terms of reference should specifically examine the flows of foreign funding through local groups that have tax deductible status.

The leaked email was from executive director of the green activist group, the Sunrise Project, John Hepburn. This is the same Mr Hepburn who was the lead author of the 2012 anti-coal strategy document, Stopping the Australian Coal Export Boom. Two of his fellow directors, Mark Wakeham and Carmel Flint are also acknowledged co-authors of the anti-coal strategy.

In the leaked email Mr Hepburn gloated about their supposed success in accessing foreign funding to thwart job generating coal projects in Queensland.

The leaked email only came to light because one of the US funders of action against coal projects in Queensland passed the email on to the chair of Hillary Clinton’s campaign committee, Mr John Podesta, whose emails have been released publicly by WikiLeaks.

The revived Parliamentary Committee inquiry should look at abuses of tax deductibility status such as the concerning claim by the NGO Human Rights Watch that it could lend its tax deductibility status to green activist groups. Such an intervention by Human Rights Watch should come as no surprise given that one of its co-founders is Ms Blair Palese, who is also CEO of green activist group 350.org. Ms Palese is also on the local Greenpeace board.

Whether they like it or not, Australian taxpayers are being taken for a ride by a sophisticated local and foreign network of green activist groups and their rich-list local and foreign funders.

Media contact: Angela Harper 0414 712 605