EDO NSW Blog posts


Recognising Aboriginal culture and heritage: our laws need improving

By EDO NSW Principal Solicitor Elaine Johnson

10 October 2016

Current laws in NSW take a very Euro-centric, materialistic approach to protecting Aboriginal culture and heritage. It’s an approach focussed on the protection of ‘stones and bones’ that fails to properly recognise the spiritual and cultural connections to Country. Yet Australia’s Aboriginal heritage is much greater than just physical, archaeological evidence – the law’s ‘materialistic’ view of Aboriginal history misses the unique culture and spirit that connects us to Australia’s past and continues to enrich our society today.

NSW heritage laws are in desperate need of reform.

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Managing water flows in the Murray-Darling Basin: a rebalance will benefit us all

By EDO NSW Policy and Law Reform Solicitor Dr Emma Carmody

29 August 2016

Between 2007 and 2016, the focus of laws and policies on the Murray-Darling Basin has shifted from restoring the health of the Basin to mitigating the socio-economic costs that may be linked to environmental water recovery. This refocus not only threatens the survival of the Basin’s water resources and water-dependent ecosystems, it ignores the link between sustainable water ‘take’ for human use and the long-term viability of Basin communities.

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How science helps us defend the environment through law

Have you heard about our Scientific Advisory Service? Ever wondered how the service works? As we mark National Science Week, here are two case studies showing how science and scientific expertise help us defend the environment through law.

15 August 2016

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How can NSW better tackle greenhouse gas emissions?

In Paris last year, Australia pledged a target to reduce emissions by 2030. All levels of government in Australia need to pitch in if we are to meet our commitments. Several Australian states and territories have laws in place to make a start. NSW doesn’t. Now more than ever, NSW needs to plan for a responsible carbon future, and our planning system is key.

27 July 2016

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The community’s right to participate: what happened to merits review?

By EDO NSW CEO/Principal Solicitor Sue Higginson

7 July 2016

Over the past few years, we’ve received many calls and emails from community groups across NSW who are concerned about the removal of their merits review rights for large resource extraction projects. Communities are concerned that they have lost access to a valuable right of public participation in the state’s planning system – the right to appeal the approval of large scale mining and coal seam gas projects to the Land and Environment Court. 

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Working in partnership to protect and promote culture and heritage: EDO NSW and the Dharriwaa Elders Group

By EDO NSW Solicitor Ross Mackay

5 July 2016

As we celebrate NAIDOC Week 2016, it is a good time for us to reflect on the work we do for our Aboriginal clients.

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Helping Maules Creek farmer Pat Murphy access justice

By EDO NSW CEO/Principal Solicitor Sue Higginson

27 June 2016

You may have seen news reports about Pat Murphy, a farmer whose land is within 2km of the Maules Creek Open Cut Coal Mine near Boggabri in Northern NSW. Since Pat called our environmental advice line in September last year, we’ve been helping him understand his legal rights.

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The 2016 NSW biodiversity reforms: 6 things you need to know

By EDO NSW Policy and Law Reform Director Rachel Walmsley

9 June 2016

You may have heard that the NSW Government has proposed a legislative and policy package that removes many of NSW’s long-held environmental protections. If you are having trouble navigating the many reform documents, EDO NSW has identified six key issues you should know about.

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Housing, housing everywhere but not a DA in sight: the possible consequences of expanding complying development on sensitive coastal environments

By EDO NSW Policy and Law Reform Solicitor Dr Emma Carmody

26 May 2016

Sometimes seemingly separate government reforms can interact in unforeseen ways. Two recent reforms proposed by the NSW Government are a case in point: the expansion of the General Housing Code and the coastal reform package. We need to make sure these reforms work together more effectively so as to minimise impacts on coastal wetlands and littoral (or coastal) rainforests.

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Warkworth coal mine expansion legal challenge withrawn

By EDO NSW CEO/Principal Solicitor Sue Higginson

25 May 2016

Our client the Bulga Milbrodale Progress Association has withdrawn its appeal against Rio Tinto’s Warkworth coal mine expansion. The expansion was approved by the NSW Planning Assessment Commission (PAC) in late 2015, and is very similar to the project that was refused by the Land and Environment Court in 2013. That refusal was upheld by the NSW Court of Appeal in 2014.

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