Tax-deductible donations to hundreds of environmental groups will be scrutinised in a new inquiry by a Federal Government House of Representatives Environment Committee. The committee has launched an inquiry into the administration, transparency and effectiveness of the Register of Environmental Organisations (the Register) in supporting practical action to improve the environment. The committee looks forward to hearing from a range of environmental organisations, including those currently listed on the Register and other interested parties. Over 600 environmental groups are currently deductible gift recipients. This allows them to access tax-deductible donations to fund important, practical work to improve the natural environment. We need to ensure that tax deductible donations, which are a generous concession from the taxpayer, are used for the purpose intended and expected by the community. The terms of reference empower the committee to inquire into and report on the administration and transparency of the Register of Environmental Organisations (the Register) and its effectiveness in supporting communities to take practical action to improve the environment. The inquiry will have particular regard to: … the definition of ‘environmental organisation’ under the Income Tax Assessment Act 1997, including under Subdivision 30-E; … the requirements to be met by an organisation to be listed on the Register and maintain its listing; … activities undertaken by organisations currently listed on the Register and the extent to which these activities involve on-ground environmental works; … reporting requirements for organisations to disclose donations and activities funded by donations; … the administration of the Register and potential efficiency improvements; … compliance arrangements and the measures available to the Department of the Environment and the Australian Taxation Office to investigate breaches of the Act and Ministerial Guidelines by listed organisations; and … relevant governance arrangements in international jurisdictions, and exploring methods to adopt best practice in Australia. The Committee will accept submissions addressing one or more of the terms of reference until Thursday, 21 May 2015. Further details about how to make a submission can be obtained from the committee’s website at: http://www.aph.gov.au/reo. Australians most at risk of bowel cancer will have access to more frequent screening 14 years ahead of schedule, with the Abbott Government delivering on its election promise to fast track the progamme in a bid to save more lives. The Federal Government will invest an additional $95.9 million to ensure Australians aged 50 to 74 would receive a free, at home bowel cancer screening kit every two years by 2020 rather than 2034 as was planned under the previous government. Previously people were only sent screening kits every five years between the age of 50 and 65 with nothing sent to those aged 66 to 74. In order to support greater participation, the Government has launched the “a gift for living” bowel cancer screening awareness campaign that, once fully rolled out, could potentially save up to 500 lives each year. Bowel cancer is the second most common cause of cancer deaths in Australia with approximately 80 Australians dying each week. The Abbott Government is serious about increasing cancer screening rates and the $95million commitment will deliver the expanded programme 14 years earlier than previously planned. The expansion of the programme which will include the additional age groups of 70 and 74 began this year. The Howard Government introduced the National Bowel Cancer Screening Programme in 2006 and this expansion delivers on a key 2013 election commitment. For more information, visit Australia.gov.au/bowelscreening or call the information line on 1800 11 88 68.