EDO NSW Blog posts


Strength in collaboration - world's environmental lawyers meet in Oregon

Last week, I was privileged to represent EDO NSW at the Environmental Law Alliance Worldwide (ELAW) annual meeting in Eugene, Oregon, in the US. At the meeting I learnt from environmental and human rights lawyers and advocates from across the globe – Brazil, Colombia, Nicaragua, the US, Canada, Japan, Russia, Ukraine, Kenya and South Africa, to name only a few of the countries represented.

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Endorsing extinction is not a 'minor' admin task

This week, in a media release titled Stronger protection for threatened species, the Commonwealth Environment Minister officially upgraded the threat status of the Spectacled flying fox from Vulnerable to Endangered; and signed off on our first mammal to go extinct due to climate change, when the Bramble Cay melomys was moved from the Endangered category to the Extinct category on our national threatened species list. Ironically, the Minister’s pen is also now poised to co-sign “minor” amendments to an agreement that will outsource national environmental assessment and officially endorse the trajectory of biodiversity decline in NSW. We contend that endorsing extinction is not a minor administrative exercise.

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The other Rocky Hill grounds

The ground-breaking climate change aspects of last Friday’s Land and Environment Court merits appeal decision on the Rocky Hill Coal Project continue to be the deserved subject of media attention. However, the Court also upheld the original refusal of the mine on a number of other important environmental, social, economic, and cultural grounds finding that the mine project would “severely impact on people’s sense of place”. 

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Forest update: NSW turns its attention to forestry on private land

The NSW Government wrapped up major changes to logging on public land in late 2018 and now turns its attention to private native forestry, with the first round of public consultation open until 31 January 2019.

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Toxic: what is rotten in the Murray-Darling Basin?

It’s not just fish.

The devastating scene of thousands of dead fish in one of Australia’s most important river systems highlights a failure of governance and policy, Quentin Grafton, Emma Carmody (of EDO NSW), Matthew Colloff and John Williams write.

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Concerns about bottling in the Tweed

Water is a precious resource in Australia, of intrinsic concern to us all. Yet water rights are often in dispute; mining can jeopardise water quality and quantity; and sharing often limited reserves can place community relationships under strain. EDO NSW continues to apply and advance the law concerning this most vital resource.

Read this account from our Annual Report 2017-2018 of our response to concerns about water bottling in the Tweed valley:

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Protecting heritage-listed and critically endangered woodland

We are environmental and planning lawyers. We empower communities to identify unlawful behaviour, to challenge unwelcome or unhealthy developments and navigate their way through a planning system that can be confusing and intimidating.

Here is the story of the Fernhill estate, as told in our Annual Report 2017-2018:

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A community gains access to justice

Merits appeal rights were introduced over 30 years ago as part of extensive law reform designed to improve the integrity of the planning system. They allow communities to challenge a development approval on a project’s merits, taking into account environmental, social and economic impacts.

Over recent years, community merits appeal rights have been eroded – routinely, in cases involving mining projects. EDO NSW advocates for the reinstatement of community rights to a merits appeal. It’s crucial that the people with most to lose – whose homes, businesses, communities, land, air and water quality are at risk from mines and other developments – are able to have their voices heard in Court.

Here is the Gloucester merits appeal story, as told by Julie Lyford, from the EDO NSW Annual Report 2017-2018.

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Visiting logging sites in PNG

An EDO NSW and Centre for Environmental Law and Community Rights (CELCOR) team, including solicitor Peter Bellach and barrister Dr Chris McGrath, visited the island of New Hanover in northeastern Papua New Guinea in late November 2018 to view logging sites.

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A tribute to Murray Wilcox

Jess Feehely writes: EDOs of Australia was saddened by the news that Hon Murray Wilcox AO QC, who was instrumental in establishing the network of EDOs and advancing environmental governance across the country, passed away last week.

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