Charity no more

By Country News

Aussie Farms has had its status as a charity revoked by the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission following an investigation.

Aussie Farms released its ‘Farm Transparency Map’ earlier this year, which publicly listed the addresses of farming industries.

The group said the aim of the map was to expose animal cruelty and increase transparency, however, many of the listed farms were regular farming households.

Aussie Farms was also responsible for a number of animal activist protests which caused the government to crackdown on trespass laws.

ACNC commissioner Gary John said charities must stick to their purpose under charity laws.

“Revocation of charity status is the most serious action the ACNC can take,” Mr John said.

The revocation takes away the organisation's Commonwealth charity tax concessions, including income tax exemption, fringe benefits tax rebates and goods and services tax concessions.

The findings from the investigation will remain private due to secrecy provisions in the ACNC Act.

Aussie Farms said the ACNC failed to conduct the investigation independent from external influence due to notifying the animal agriculture industry of their decision in advance.

The group said appealing through the ACNC would be futile and would call for an external review into ACNC's role.

VFF president David Jochinke said Aussie Farms was not a genuine charity.

“We absolutely welcome the news that common sense has prevailed and that the ACNC has recognised that inciting illegal activity, such as invading farms in the dead of night, is not the actions of a genuine charity.”

When Aussie Farms become a charity in January, 2018 the Federal Agriculture Minister at the time, David Littleproud, said the group didn't deserve its charity status.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has also referred to the group as "grubs".

In related news, mother of Aussie Farms creator Chris Delforce and Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade specialist, Julie Delforce, has stepped down from her role during an external investigation into her ties with animal activist websites.