Are donations to 'Auria' tax deductable?
No – and the reason is simple.
For donations to be ‘tax deductable’ – one has to be a registered ‘not-for-profit’ organisation or charity.
A large percentage of money donated to such organisations is eroded away in bureaucracy, collectors’ commissions, directors’ fees and expenses etc..
Every dollar donated to 'Auria' is legitimately spent on purchasing tree seedlings and planting them to benefit the environment – not for income-generation. Because 'Auria' can claim the GST back, the 10% buys more plants! Surely this is what one wants?
Does 'Auria' generate any income?
Tree crops do not create a quick return. Since starting the 'Auria' project in 2001, it has incurred costs: seedlings, diesel fuel, machinery repairs etc. Some brushwood has been harvested, all the income has been reinvested. Sandalwood will produce income in the long term as will timber. The project is focussed predominantly on improving the environment and demonstrating to other landowners what they can do to address the environmental problems on their properties.
Are discoveries being made at 'Auria'?
Yes. The major discoveries at 'Auria' enable trees to be successfully established on degraded land and low rainfall regions, areas previously considered too challenging. Slowly but surely, the methods are now being adopted by a growing number of people.
‘Companion planting’ is a means whereby growth rates can be improved and insects controlled without the use of chemicals. This is very important for the health of soil, water, wildlife and us! Again people are beginning to recognise the benefits and are implementing the ideas.
Methods for improving the end value of sandalwood are being developed, so much sandalwood that is grown commercially ends up with low value.
‘Raised beds’ can be very beneficial in certain conditions, their design impacts dramatically on how well they perform and designs need to be different for different soil types – there is considerably more to a good design than meets the eye.
There is much, much more going on!
What are the major challenges facing 'Auria'?
Most people think that growing trees is simply a matter of planting them in the ground and leaving the rest to Nature. People need to be prepared to take time out to learn how subtle techniques can improve survival and growth rates, significantly. Reluctance to accept change and adopt new ideas, slows down progress – any new idea is ‘unconventional’, but when it has been demonstrated to work, it should be adopted willingly. However well we do anything, there is almost always a better way.
The greatest challenge is to get people to visit 'Auria', and for those that do come, to get them to look at what is being achieved at 'Auria' with an open mind.
Farmers are generally unwilling to plant trees on good land, and as a result of planting them on bad land, the trees do not perform well and tree planting gets a bad reputation. Thus it becomes even more difficult to get farmers to plant trees anywhere on their properties.
Does 'Auria' get government support?
Government funding is mostly only made available to community groups undertaking environmental projects on public land. 'Auria' does not satisfy this criteria and this is why your support is appreciated.
May people visit 'Auria'?
Visitors are always welcome at 'Auria', it provides a wonderful opportunity to share ideas and knowledge. Come for a couple of days and enjoy the fresh air! You will be impressed!