Amanda HodgeAll those confrontations, for what? What did Australian Pacific Greenpeace supporters get for their money?May 13, 2006
CONSERVATION giant Greenpeace Australia Pacific has posted its third operating loss in as many years and culled staff numbers.
Greenpeace chief executive Steve Shallhorn admitted yesterday the organisation had been forced to make 12 full-time staff members out of 80 redundant this year in a belt-tightening exercise aimed at balancing the budget.
The organisation's financial report for 2005 shows it raised more than $17 million last year from supporters - almost $4million more than in 2004 - but recorded a net loss of $907,000.
In 2004, Greenpeace Australia was $1.2 million in the red.
According to the audited financial statement, the losses were a result of "additional investment in fundraising" - an investment which Greenpeace believes has stemmed the decline in new supporter numbers over recent years.
Mr Shallhorn defended the losses, saying they were planned as the organisation drew down and spent cash reserves of almost $4million.
"Over three years we had the ability to spend more money on campaigns than we earned because we were drawing down reserves," he said.
"This year we're moving to a balanced budget."
He admitted that Greenpeace had also wound down some campaigns and shifted others overseas under a new agreement with Greenpeace International that would see 25per cent of all the Australia Pacific arm's fundraising go offshore.
Greenpeace Australia already contributes 18 per cent of its revenues to Greenpeace International each year.
From next year, that contribution will rise by an additional 7 per cent in order to fund new Greenpeace offices in countries such as China, India, Thailand, Indonesia and China.
"Greenpeace offices have agreed to a phenomenon known as the Global Resource Allocation where the larger offices set aside a proportion of their fundraising to be spent on campaigns in the developing world," Mr Shallhorn said.
As a result, more money would be diverted to campaigning against the rapid deforestation of Melanesia, Papua New Guinea and The Amazon as well as unsustainable fishing practices in the Pacific.
He said no further redundancies would be required to fund those projects.
"The last year or so has been very good for Greenpeace and we have grown the number of supporters and as 2005 financial statements show, we're raising more money each year," Mr Shallhorn said.
"If anything we're finding the current climate relatively easy to get Australians to support our work and attracted an additional 1500 supporters in the last six months."
About one million euros were spent on Greenpeace's anti-whaling campaign in January this year that saw numerous high-seas confrontations with Japanese whaling boats, but that money came from the Greenpeace International budget, a Greenpeace Australia Pacific spokeswoman said last night.
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