Law Reform - EDO NSW

Law reform

We actively engage in environmental policy and law reform.

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

View our recent submissions.

For national environmental matters, we work with 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.

Current opportunities for comment on law reform can be seen at Have Your Say.

Recent Submissions

Resources Regulator Inquiry into Operational Mine Rehabilitation - compliance and reporting reforms

The Resources Regulator is consulting on a number of documents, including:

- Proposed Mining Lease Conditions;

- Code of practice: rehabilitation management plans and annual reports for large and small mines;

- Guidelines: Rehabilitation risk assessment; Rehabilitation records; Rehabilitation controls; Rehabilitation GIS Portal – overview and access; and Rehabilitation GIS Portal – spatial data (GIS) guidelines.

This EDO NSW submission is limited to commenting on key legal issues associated with these reforms.

31 October 2018

Download our submission >>

Link to this page.

EDOs of Australia (EDOA) has made a submission responding to the Productivity Commission's Draft Report on the Murray Darling Basin Plan: Five Year Assessment.

10 October 2018 - Download the submission

Inquiry into Australia's faunal extinction crisis - Submission by EDOs of Australia

September 2018 - Download this submission

Almost 2000 species and ecological communities are listed as critically endangered, endangered or vulnerable to extinction in Australia. A strong legal framework to protect biodiversity and build resilience is essential for reversing the trajectory towards extinction facing many of our unique species.

EDOs are all about protecting the environment through law and our contribution to this inquiry focuses on legal solutions to the extinction crisis.

We recommend a new Environment Act for Australia is needed to address the contemporary, interlinked challenges of extinction and biodiversity protection, natural resource management, land use, human settlements, production and consumption systems and climate change. The Environment Act must be underpinned by renewed national leadership, independent and trusted institutions, high levels of environmental protection, with strong community engagement and access to justice.

This submission first notes the 13 broad recommendations for biodiversity reform, and then identifies specific recommendations related to the terms of reference.


A superb parrot. Photo: Ron Knight, Wikimedia, Creative Commons

Link to this page.

Review of the Environmental Planning and Assessment regulation 2000 - EDO NSW submission

November 2017 - Download this submission

This submission comments on the NSW Government’s September 2017 Issues Paper on the Review of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Regulation 2000 (Planning Regulation).

The Planning Regulation underpins the day-to-day operation of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 (Planning Act), guiding the processes, plans, public consultation, impact assessment and decisions made by the Department of Planning and Environment and other planning authorities.

Part A of the submission suggests some guiding principles to inform the Review and development of a draft revised Planning Regulation. Namely: 

  • Achieving the aims of the Act, government policy objectives, and setting environmental goals
  • Transparent information and effective engagement on planning matters
  • Ensure the greatest impacts receive the greatest scrutiny (e.g. major projects)
  • Specific consultation needed on giving effect to the Planning Bill 2017.

Part B examines existing provisions and matters noted in the Issues Paper that are relevant to the public interest, and other issues that EDO NSW sees as important for any redrafted Regulation to address. 

The NSW Parliament has passed the Government’s Environmental Planning and Assessment Amendment Bill 2017 (Planning Bill 2017). It is very difficult to consider the impact of this lengthy Bill as well as comment on the existing Regulation. Legitimate concerns have also been raised about the effect of certain amendments in the Bill.

We strongly recommend the Department prepare specific consultation material on how it proposes to amend the Regulation to give effect to the Planning Bill 2017. We recommend this occur in advance of a draft Regulation.

Link to this submission page.

Towards a risk-based approach to wildlife licences, National Parks and Wildlife Service - EDO NSW submission

July 2018 - Download submission

This submission responds to the following consultation documents:
- Discussion Paper – Towards a risk-based approach to wildlife licences
- Revised NSW Native Animals Keepers Species List
- Draft Code of Practice for Keeping Native Reptiles
- Draft Code of Practice for Keeping Native Frogs
- Draft Code of Practice for Keeping Native Birds

EDO NSW generally supports a risk-based approach to wildlife licences. However, it must be recognised that the use of Codes may provide a defence against actions that would otherwise constitute a legal offence. As such, it is vital that risk-based management is precautionary in its approach to assigning risk and is supported by clear and enforceable management requirements. In this regard, EDO NSW submits that there should be a number of improvements made to the proposed risk-based approached and the draft Codes, should they be adopted.

Link to this page.