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

EDO NSW Submission on the Environmental Impact Assessment Improvement Project – Environmental impact assessment for major projects

November 2016 – Download PDF

The NSW Department of Planning and Environment invited EDO NSW to make preliminary comments on stage 1 of its Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Improvement Project and high-level discussion paper.

Our comments build on previous submissions on the regulation of major project impacts. After commenting on the initial scope of the Project and eight proposed improvements, we recommend the Project address four issues in more detail: cumulative impacts; climate change; negative effects that ‘streamlining’ can have on public trust; and equitable appeal rights.

We also seek further clarity from the Department on whether the Project will involve legislative reform, and how it intersects with proposed reforms to the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979.

EDOs of Australia submission to the inquiry into flying-fox management in the eastern states

November 2016 – Download PDF

Our submission focusses on aspects of the regulatory framework for protecting flying-foxes. We recommend maintaining the independence of the Scientific Committee that makes decisions about about threatened species listings. We also recommend that there should be no further streamlining of flying-fox camp management regulations, or further exemptions of camp management actions from threatened species assessment requirements.

EDOs of Australia submission to the inquiry into the impacts of climate change on marine fisheries and biodiversity

November 2016 - Download PDF

Our submission focusses on the adequacy of current and proposed marine biodiversity protections,with particular reference to the regulatory framework for managing the impacts of climate change on marine fisheries and biodiversity. Our comments and recommendations are set out in three key sections: background context; assessing climate change readiness; and legislative frameworks for marine biodiversity.

EDOs of Australia submission to the Senate Inquiry into retirement of coal fired power plants

November 2016 - Download PDF

In our submission we:

  • recommend that National Energy Market laws and decisions must integrate carbon emissions and targets;
  • argue that improved emissions standards and improved federal oversight are needed to drive clean energy;
  • call for a review and improvement of subsidies and tax concessions for supporting communities in transition; and
  • summarise how the Paris Agreement commitments and Sustainable Development Goals can complement one another.

EDOs of Australia supports open discussions between Australian communities, their representatives and other stakeholders to ensure a just transition to clean energy, productive livelihoods, and a safe and stable climate. A rapid transition is imperative, and if well-managed through coordinated effort, will be positive from an environmental, social and economic point of view.

EDOs of Australia submission on the Productivity Commission Marine Fisheries and Aquaculture Inquiry: Draft Report

October 2016 – Download PDF

EDOs of Australia broadly supports the draft recommendations for wild caught fisheries and aquaculture. Our comments relevant to the regulation of fishing in Commonwealth marine reserves are set out in our Submission on Marine Reserves Review (March 2015), and detailed commentary regarding aquaculture is provided in EDO Tasmania’s submission on the Issues Paper for this Inquiry.

Our latest submission makes further comment on access to fisheries resources, customary fishing, recreational fishing, managing the environmental impacts of fisheries, aquaculture, downstream processes, and other areas for improvements.