Conversation with the Australian Charities & Not for Profit Commission (ACNC)

The Waubra Foundation was granted Endorsement as a Deductible Gift Recipient (DGR) by the Australian Taxation Office (ATO), in October 2011, with an effective date of October, 2010.

In May 2013, a mere 20 months after approval, the ATO undertook another and thorough review of the Foundation’s activities. A well-known wind advocate has claimed that this review was prompted by a complaint from him to the ATO.

After a complete review of the Foundation’s records, the ATO on 13 July, 2013, advised “the information provided by you has been examined, and we are satisfied with your response. The review has been completed, and at this stage no further action is proposed.”

During 2013 the Waubra Foundation was duly registered with the newly formed ACNC. The role of the ACNC is described in the link at the foot of this page.

With changes to the ACNC Act coming into force on January 1, 2014 the Foundation was requested to nominate the categories and sub-types which applied to its registration. The Foundation complied.

Meanwhile, in November 2013 wind energy advocate and Greens Senator Richard Di Natale announced in Parliament that he was calling on the ACNC to investigate the registration of the Foundation as a Health Promotion Charity and called for the ACNC and the ATO to de-register the Foundation as a Charity connected with Health Promotion or Disease Prevention and remove its DGR status. Senator Di Natale’s reasons included that “wind turbine syndrome” and “vibro acoustic disease” were not accepted by most medical authorities, and (by inference) therefore did not exist as diseases, further (by inference) there was no health problem with wind turbine sound and vibration; yet further, that the Foundation was making people sick by scaring them (the alleged ‘nocebo effect’).

It appears that the ‘nocebo effect’ argument is only applied by Senator Di Natale to residents living near wind turbines who report the characteristic symptoms, and not to the residents reporting identical symptoms to the Waubra Foundation, which occur with exposure to sound and vibration energy emissions from coal mining, gas fired power stations, and large compressors, including field compressors used in CSG extraction activities. Greens Senators have been made aware directly of these problems by some of those residents, some of whom have also had to leave their homes because of the sound energy and vibration, and been silenced with gag clauses as part of property buy-out agreements.

The Foundation was contacted by the ACNC during November and December requesting information, to which requests much information, including research material, was furnished and all questions were answered in detail by the Waubra Foundation CEO. At this stage the ACNC legal department specifically declined the Foundation’s request to provide it with a copy of the full complaint sent to them by Senator Di Natale.

On February 13, 2014, Assistant Commissioner David Locke sent a ‘Show Cause Notice of proposed charity sub-type revocation’.

Subsequently a copy of the written complaints from Senator Di Natale about the Waubra Foundation was provided by the ACNC to the Foundation. Senator Di Natale had written to both the ACNC and to the ATO, directed to ‘Tax Evasion’ ATO.

The Foundation’s CEO provided a detailed response on April 4, 2014.

The Foundation’s Chairman meanwhile wrote to Commissioner Susan Conroy about the matter. There was no answer from the Commissioner directly to the Waubra Foundation Chairman.

The following documents may be downloaded:

October 28, 2011 ATO Endorsement of the Waubra Foundation – Deductible Gift Recipient →

July 3, 2013 ATO advice of completion of their audit →

February 2, 2014 ACNC Asst. Commissioner David Locke ‘Show Cause’ letter →

March 5, 2014 Waubra Foundation Chairman to ACNC Commissioner Susan Pascoe, AM →

March 31, 2014 Waubra Foundation ACNC 2013 Annual Info. Statement →

April 4, 2014 Waubra Foundation response to ‘Show Cause’ letter →

ACNC webpage describing their Role