Matt Canavan’s attack on funding of Australia’s environment groups is because he know he has lost the environment debate with the Australian public, environmentalist Bob Brown said in Newcastle today (Saturday).

‘Canavan is taking a leaf out of the Trump book of foul play by playing the people and not the issue. However he lays himself wide open to explaining to taxpayers how and why the National Party has pilfered $5 billion from ordinary taxpayers for its Northern Australia Infrastructure Fund to line the pockets of mining corporations and other exploiters of nature. That $5 billion is 100 times more than the total income of all the environment groups he is whinging about. He owes it to all Australians to say why that $5billion is going to corporations, against free market principles, and not schools, hospitals or protecting the nation’s heritage,’ Brown said.

Brown is in Newcastle for the Doctors for the Environment Australia conference.

He told today’s public rally against seismic testing, authorised by Canavan, that explosives on the sea floor destroy the living organisms at the base of the food chain and are known to impact with behavioural changes and auditory damage to cetaceans like dolphins and whales. ‘Yet here we have Canavan agreeing to license that damage for corporate exploiters to search for oil and gas to accelerate global warming with its future catastrophic economic effects. If you look at the laws of nature, Canavan is engaged in criminal activity,’ Brown told the crowd of protesters including local Aboriginal representatives.