Law Reform

We actively engage in environmental policy and law reform in NSW and Australia

View our recent submissions

Our policy and law reform work reflects our status as an independent, specialist legal centre. We put forward policy proposals suggesting ways that the law can be improved in NSW and Australia.

Our policy proposals may be in the form of:

  • submissions to Governments or parliamentary inquiries
  • proactive reports and consultancy projects
  • policy advice to Governments as a member of expert panels or stakeholder reference groups.

For national environmental matters, we work with our colleagues in EDOs of Australia and with national groups, to improve the law and protect the environment.

Review our submissions by topic using the right hand menu or use the search feature below to find a document of interest.

You can see current opportunities for law reform at Have Your Say.

Major review of biodiversity laws by NSW Government

The NSW Government has released a new biodiversity conservation law and policy package that's a serious retrograde step as it involves removing many of NSW’s long-held environmental protections. Read more on our feature page.

Recent Submissions

Submission on the Environmental Impact Assessment Improvement Project - Draft EIA Guidelines

September 2017 - Download PDF

The Department of Planning and Environment is reviewing Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) for State significant projects in NSW to identify areas for improvement. This submission makes comment on the need to improve EIA processes and makes recommendations on the proposed series of 9 guidelines. The guidelines relate to the following EIA stages:

Guideline 1 - Overview of the EIA Improvement Project

Guideline 2 - Community Guide to EIA

Guideline 3 - Scoping an Environmental Impact Statement

Guideline 4 - Preparing an Environmental Impact Statement

Guideline 5 - Responding to External Submissions

Guideline 6 - Community and Stakeholder Engagement

Guideline 7 - Approach to Setting Conditions

Guideline 8 - Modifying an Approved Project

Guideline 9 - Peer Review

Further information about the EIA Improvement Project is available at here and here

Link to this submission's page.

Draft Water Management (General) Regulation 2017 - EDO NSW submission

August 2017 - Download PDF

This short submission focuses on 4 proposed changes to the Draft Water Management (General) Regulation 2017 concerning: subdividing approvals; correcting descriptions in approvals; streamlining requirements for private pontoons, jetties and moorings on public land; and the use of water for dust suppression.

More broadly, EDO NSW is working on a range of recommendations for water law reform as part of our ongoing legal advice and law reform work. See our Blog on our ongoing work to protect the Murray Darling Basin for more information.

Link to this submission’s page.

Inquiry into the Future of Australia’s Cities – EDOs of Australia submission

August 2017 – Download Submission

This submission to the House of Representatives Committee on Infrastructure, Transport and Cities covers two sub-inquiries.

On Sustainability transitions in existing cities we discuss:

  • Reviewing evidence and recommendations from past inquiries
  • Prioritising sustainable transport and infrastructure
  • Global best practice green cities
  • Strong leadership needs institutions, vision and harmonisation.

On Growing new and transitioning regional cities and towns we highlight five critical issues for planning in regional Australia:

  • Ecologically sustainable development
  • Good strategic planning  
  • Natural Resource Management goals, data, environmental accounts
  • Climate change readiness
  • Community engagement, including regional Aboriginal communities

Link to this submission’s page.

Environmental Planning & Assessment Amendment (Staged development Applications) Bill 2017 – EDO NSW submission

July 2017 – Download Submission

This submission expresses concerns about the Bill proceeding as drafted, and makes a number of recommendations.

Link to this submission’s page.

Inquiry into the Environment and Infrastructure Legislation Amendment (Stop Adani) Bill 2017 – EDOs of Australia submission

July 2017 – Download Submission

This submission responds to the Inquiry into the Environment and Infrastructure Legislation Amendment (Stop Adani) Bill 2017.

Link to this submission’s page.