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Brisbane Times
NGOs told they are right to remain silent to keep funding

NGOs told they are right to remain silent to keep funding

Tue August 21, 2012 12:45am

The Newman government has been accused of trying to gag community organisations from pushing for legal changes as part of new funding agreements.

The Newman government has been accused of trying to gag community organisations, preventing them from pushing for legal changes as part of new funding agreements.

A key union leader last night branded a condition that prevents government-funded community organisations from even providing links on their websites to other groups that advocate for legal changes “super-sensitive”.

But Health Minister Lawrence Springborg's spokesman argued the government was simply “making it clear that we want to fund outcomes but not advocacy”.

A new website that contains articles critical of the Newman government's cuts, called “Rooftop QLD”, yesterday posted what was said to be an extract from a funding contract signed with the state government.

“Where the Organisation receives 50 per cent or more of its total funding from Queensland Health and other Queensland Government agencies, the Organisation must not advocate for State or Federal legislative change,” an extract of the purported contract states.

“The Organisation must also not include links on their website to other organisations' websites that advocate for State or Federal legislative change.”

Queensland Health has historically provided funding to a raft of organisations including health service providers, charities, government agencies and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health groups.

It is unclear at this stage which of these groups may have had the new conditions imposed and whether the rules are being applied by other departments, not just Queensland Health.

A spokesman for Mr Springborg last night confirmed conditions limiting advocacy were being imposed as part of the grants process.

“It's now a clause that we apply,” he told brisbanetimes.com.au.

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