Legal Guides

We seek to empower the community to participate in environmental decisions and to build capacity to use the law to protect the environment

We produce plain English educational materials in a range of formats, explaining environmental law and policy and how the community can have their say in environmental law and policy decision-making processes. All of our publications are available free to the community.

What do you think? Have you used one of the publications listed on this page recently? If so, we ask that you complete this short online survey. To give your feedback on our other publications, simply restart the survey once you have submitted your survey.

Mining Law in NSW: A Guide for the Community

A plain-English guide to the law on mining in NSW. The publication is aimed at mining and CSG affected communities and offers landholders a step-by-step legal guide to dealing with mining companies, and understanding their rights and obligations under the law.

EDO NSW has prepared this guide in consultation with the NSW community and key government departments. The first edition of this guide was produced with funding from the NSW Environmental Trust. It is our hope that that the guide will help the people of NSW to understand their rights and obligations with regards to CSG developments and assist them to use the law to the fullest extent possible to protect their interests and those of the environment.
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Rural Landholder's Guide To Environmental Law In New South Wales, 4th Edition

The purpose of this booklet is to help you understand your legal rights and obligations as a landholder and to manage your land in accordance with environmental and natural resource management law.

The topics covered in this booklet include:

  • vegetation management
  • protected plants and animals
  • bushfire management
  • water management
  • development consent
  • pollution
  • agricultural chemicals
  • crops and stock
  • mining and quarrying
  • heritage protection
  • voluntary conservation.

This publication was produced with the financial support of the NSW Government through its Environmental Trust.
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A Guide to Private Conservation in NSW

Australia’s biodiversity cannot be conserved adequately in the public reserve system. Public reserves such as national parks account for a small fraction of all land in Australia. Without conservation on private land much of Australia’s biodiversity may be lost.

This is why government and non-government organisations are working towards encouraging landholders to take steps to conserve some or all of the natural features of their properties. A range of private conservation mechanisms have been developed in the hope that more of Australia’s biodiversity can be preserved.

This publication will help you understand the different private conservation options available and help you decide which option would be most suitable for your property and circumstances.

This publication was produced with the financial support of the NSW Government through its Environmental Trust. 
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Caring for Country: A Guide to Environmental Law for Aboriginal Communities in NSW, 2nd Edition

The purpose of this guide is to assist Aboriginal people to understand their legal rights and obligations under environmental and natural resource management law.

This guide is written specifically for Aboriginal communities living in NSW, recognising that environmental issues don’t affect everyone in the same way.

The guide may be useful for people from other states but many of the laws referred to in this guide are NSW laws and the law may differ in other states.

It is hoped that this guide will help you to better understand the many complicated laws relating to country, culture and heritage so that you will be in a better position to protect your rights and the environment.

Read about our Aboriginal Engagement Program.

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Caring for the Coast: A Guide to Environmental Law for Coastal Communities in NSW, 2nd Edition

The purpose of this booklet is to help you understand your legal rights and obligations as a member of a coastal community and assist you in being an informed and active participant in planning and environmental decisions. This publication was produced with the financial support of the Commonwealth Government through its Caring for Our Country initiative.

Since this booklet was published, the NSW Government has amended the NSW Coastal Protection Act 1979. The amendments created the NSW Coastal Panel and regulations relating to the types of works that can be undertaken to protect property from inundation and coastal erosion (such as temporary or long term protection works). The new provisions are outlined in EDO NSW's Fact Sheet on coastal protection.

Contact us to order your copy or download the guide.

Getting the Drift: A community guide to pesticide use in the NSW Northern Rivers, 2nd Edition

Want to know which pesticides could be sprayed near where you live, and what you can do about it?

If you live in the NSW Northern Rivers, this booklet will help you find out.
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Campaigning and the Law in NSW

Campaigning carries with it the risk of falling foul of the law – for example, being arrested or having defamation action taken against you. It is important to be aware of your rights and duties under the law. Being informed helps you to feel more in control, be aware of your rights, stay out of trouble or, at least, minimise the trouble you may get into.

This guide focuses on summary offences and police powers pertaining to non-violent actions, as these are the sorts of matters that campaigners (and especially environmental campaigners) are usually faced with. It also deals with police responsibilities in a campaigning context, and more serious matters are also touched on, as even non-violent actions can go wrong.
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