Donation to EDO NSW bolsters legal defence for communities

Local communities defending themselves against environmentally damaging development will benefit from a $500,000 donation made to the environmental legal centre, EDO NSW, executive director Jeff Smith said today.

6 Nov 2014

Mr Smith said the donation by former Greens MP, Sylvia Hale, was the largest the organisation had ever received and would help redress an $850,000 reduction in state and federal government funding over the past year.

‘This is a fantastic, inspiring and still somewhat unbelievable gift that has helped us to buttress substantial funding cuts over the past few years,” Mr Smith said.

“We will be reinvesting this money back into our operations over the next three years to maintain our crucial strategic litigation and advice services for the people of NSW.

“The public interest law cases we run not only protect local communities from environmentally damaging development but help to keep government decision making processes transparent and accountable to the public.”

Ms Hale said without EDO NSW many communities would be unable to afford to take big mining companies and developers to court to protect their local environment.

“With the NSW government reviewing laws protecting biodiversity and the Federal government planning to hand over national environmental approval powers to the states, the role of EDO NSW has never been more important,” Ms Hale said.

The EDO has been involved in a number of landmark legal cases over its nearly 30 year history. Earlier this year, the NSW Court of Appeal dismissed an appeal by a Rio Tinto controlled company against a Land and Environment Court decision to refuse a coal mine expansion near the village of Bulga, in the Hunter Valley. EDO NSW represented the Bulga Milbrodale Progress Association in the case.

Over the last twelve months EDO NSW has run 10 public interest law cases, provided over 200 written legal advices to clients, conducted over 20 legal workshops for community groups across NSW and made 40 policy submissions to NSW and Federal governments on environmental and planning laws.  

Further information contact: EDO NSW Jon Walter 0404 647 842