'Misinformation' worries green group hearing attendees

THE community is worried about the "misinformation" spread by environmental groups.

That was the summary from Federal Member for Dawson George Christensen, after attending a public hearing about the register of environmental groups in Bowen yesterday.

The inquiry was launched on March 26, to assess the administration, transparency and effectiveness of the Register of Environmental Organisations under the Income Tax Assessment Act 1997.

Representatives from a range of groups, including Reef Catchments, The Resource Industry Network and the Mackay Conservation Group had their say.

"Tarah Medcalf and Kylie Smith (from the Abbot Point Expansion Supporters Group) were concerned in relation to the local economy being held back by green groups," Mr Christensen said.

"Most people who presented wanted greater scrutiny around what groups with tax deductibility do."

Concerns about the impact of environmental groups on investor confidence and tourism were also raised.

Submissions are still open on the inquiry and can be made online.

The public hearing followed an announcement by Mr Christensen he would "have to" draft a Private Members Bill to parliament, if prime minister Malcolm Turnbull withdrew legislation to stop green groups challenging large projects in court.

"There's been speculation Malcolm Turnbull might withdraw the legislation, if that's true, we'll have to set up a Private Members Bill," Mr Christensen said.

"We're maybe a week away from the decision around the Carmichael railway; we're about a month away from the Abbott Point approval.

"(Once the approvals are granted) green groups will pore over it and try and find something to take to court.

"It could drag on for two years, that's my concern; we can't wait for two years."



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