cases2018 at EDO NSW

EDO NSW cases2018

Diverse Women in Law

EDO NSW paralegal Cecilia Fonseca has become a founding member of Diverse Women in Law (DWL), a Sydney-based group that aims to work directly with women from diverse backgrounds in the legal sector.

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Climate change and planning laws


Beyond Rocky Hill...

Our expert recommendations on climate-ready planning laws include a Climate Change Act, a Minister for Climate Change and a Climate Change Division within the Dept of Premier and Cabinet.

Read our milestone report >>

Climate-ready planning laws for NSW: Rocky Hill and beyond

Following hot on the heels of the landmark decision in the Rocky Hill court case, the latest IPCC Special Report on the impacts of global warming, warnings from the Reserve Bank of Australia and a summer of extreme weather, EDO NSW today publishes its recommendations for climate-ready planning laws for NSW.

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We will send you updates about our vital climate litigation work and any possible appeal to the Rocky Hill judgment.

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Donate to build EDO's Environmental Defence Fund


Right now, we’re representing long-suffering community groups across NSW as they defend their air, land, water, farms, towns and wild places from an alarming array of coal and gas projects. These would have serious social and environmental impacts locally and contribute to dangerous climate change globally.

Help us keep fighting for communities on the frontline with a donation to our Environmental Defence Fund today.

A visitor with 'PNG magic'

In December 2018, we were fortunate to host a visit from Mr Murray Maroroa, Chair of the Centre for Environmental Law and Community Rights (CELCOR), our principal partner in Papua New Guinea. 

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FOI win on oil drilling in Great Australian Bight

EDO NSW has assisted Greenpeace Australia Pacific in obtaining documents under Freedom of Information laws which reveal the potential dangers involved in drilling for oil in the wild seas off the South Australian coast. 

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Experience: Interning at the EDO

Law student Felicity Brown recently did her Aurora internship at EDO NSW. Felicity is currently in her fourth year of a Bachelor Law/ Bachelor of International Relations/ Diploma of Languages (French) at the Australian National University in Canberra. Here she writes about her interning experience.

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Environment Council of Central Queensland vs Minister for the Environment and Anor

EDO NSW filed proceedings in October 2018 on behalf of our client, the Environment Council of Central Queensland (ECoCeQ), challenging a decision of the Federal Minister for the Environment in regards to a proposal to clear 2,100 ha of native vegetation on the Cape York Peninsula.

27 November 2018: The Federal Court has upheld this challenge. The Federal Minister for the Environment has conceded that the decision was not made lawfully.

Read our media release: Media concedes unlawful decision on land clearing in Reef catchment

More on the background to the case: ECoCeQ is challenging the Minister’s decision to assess the environmental impacts of the proposed clearing using the least rigorous assessment method available: ‘assessment on referral information’.

The Minister is permitted to determine that a proposal should be assessed using ‘referral information’ only if satisfied that the proposal meets a number of stringent criteria outlined in the federal environmental legislation, including that the relevant impacts of the proposal are expected to be short term, easily reversible or small scale, and that the degree of public concern about the proposal is, or is expected to be, moderately low.

We are arguing, on behalf of ECoCeQ, that:

  • the decision to apply the least rigorous assessment option to the proposal was unlawful because the Minister was not satisfied, as required by law, that the proposal met the criteria outlined in the legislation.
  • it was unreasonable for the Minister to find that the proposal was of ‘moderately low’ public concern in circumstances where, among other things, the Minister received more than 6,000 public submissions objecting to the proposal at the preliminary referral stage.


The Great Barrier Reef and Cape York - Envisat image.

This clearing is likely to have significant impacts on matters of national environmental significance, including the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park and listed threatened species and ecological communities.

Emily Long, Solicitor at EDO NSW, has carriage of this matter for ECoCeQ. Brendan Dobbie, Acting Principal Solicitor, is the solicitor on record.

We are grateful to barristers Stephen Lloyd SC and Ashley Stafford for their assistance in representing ECoCeQ in this matter.

Link to this case summary.

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Report: Next generation biodiversity laws

EDO NSW has prepared a report for Humane Society International (HSI) which sets out the basic requirements for the introduction of next generation national biodiversity law in Australia.

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FOI win reveals NSW offsets policy fails to meet national environmental standards – but was accredited anyway

The Environmental Defenders Office (EDO NSW), representing Humane Society International Australia (HSI), has successfully argued the public has a right to know that the Australian Government decided to accredit the NSW landclearing offsets policy despite concerns it failed to meet national environmental standards.


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