Australian Environment Foundation

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The Australian Environment Foundation is a not-for-profit advocacy organisation. It has disputed the values of some mainstream environmental assertions, and also on occasion the evidence used to support those assertions. The AEF is skeptical on climate change, pro-logging, pro-big business, anti-wind energy, and against the Murray-Darling Basin plan.[1][2][3]

Membership of the AEF is available only to individuals, and all states are represented in the membership.

Stated core values of the AEF include: • Evidence - policies are set and decisions are made on the basis of facts, evidence and scientific analysis. • Choice - issues are prioritized on the basis of accurate risk assessment and cost-benefit analysis. • Diversity - biological diversity is maintained. • People - people are an integral part of the environment.


The formation of the AEF was first mooted at the Eureka Forum organised in December 2004 by the Institute of Public Affairs and a number of resource user groups.[4] It was formally launched on World Environment Day (5 June 2005) in the northern New South Wales town of Tenterfield.

The founding chairman was former Labor federal environment minister, Barry Cohen AM. A subsequent chairman was gardener, author and television presenter Don Burke OAM. A founding director was Dr Jennifer Marohasy, who worked for the Institute of Public Affairs at the time. Reporting on the AEF's launch, the Melbourne broadsheet newspaper, The Age wrote: "Dr Marohasy said she acted as the group's leader as an individual and not part of the IPA."[5] At the time of registration, the registered office was the same is the registered office of the Institute of Public Affairs.[6]

The group stated in its press release that "This new group will be vastly different to the established environment organisations that have had the ear of governments for some time. The AEF’s focus will be on making decisions based on science and what is good for both the environment and for people".[7] The launch was covered on the conservative ABC Radio National program ‘Counterpoint’ on 6 June.[8]

The group's formation attracted criticism from more left-wing environmental groups and pointed to the fact members of the pro-forestry group 'Timber Communities Australia' were involved in the group. The organisation has been labelled a "fake environmental group" by community advocacy organisation GetUp!.[9]

Recently the group has come under criticism for lobbying for the de-listing of Tasmania's World Heritage old-growth forest.[10]



  • Max Rheese, Executive Director
  • Peter Ridd, Board Member
  • Joanna Hill, Board Member
  • Brian Wawn, Board Member
  • Helen Mahar, Secretary & Treasurer
  • Tom Bostock, Board Member
  • Robert Carter, Board Member

Other personnel[edit]

  • Peter Ridd, Science Coordinator

Former directors[edit]

External links[edit]

AEF media releases[edit]

General articles[edit]