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Court grants protection to critically endangered plant on site of massive western Sydney development

6 March 2018

Court grants protection to critically endangered plant on site of massive western Sydney development

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National Environmental Law Reform

Working with some of Australia’s top legal minds, the EDO is helping to develop the next generation of Australian environmental laws.


These focus on environmental protection and sustainable development with transparency and accountability, rather than regulated destruction.

They establish new norms in the form of an environmental duty of care and a general duty to restore and rehabilitate harmed environments. They also consider as essential both the precautionary principle and the prevention principle. The Australian Panel of Experts on Environmental Law also proposes new independent watchdog institutions with clear roles and responsibilities.

EDO NSW is advocating for these new laws to be implemented across the country.

The report 'Next Generation - Biodiversity Laws. Best practice elements for a new Commonwealth Environment Act' was prepared for Humane Society International and published in June 2018. Read more and download the report.


Fiji fisheries forum and Serua island visit

Last month, International Programs Manager BeomJin (BJ) Kim and CEO David Morris visited Fiji to attend the Fisheries Forum run by EDO NSW’s partner, the Fiji Environmental Law Association (FELA).

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The Northern Basin disallowance

Parliament votes to protect the Murray Darling Basin Plan

By Dr Emma Carmody

16 February 2018

On 14 February 2018, the Australian Parliament voted to disallow a proposed amendment to the Basin Plan to – amongst other things – take 70 GL (or 70 billion litres) away from the environment in the northern Murray-Darling Basin (MDB). The proposed amendment was based on work undertaken by the Murray-Darling Basin Authority (MDBA) as part of the Northern Basin Review (NBR).

Since our national Parliament exercised its right to reject this amendment, the State of New South Wales has intimated in an official media release that it will walk away from the Basin Plan, claiming that the NBR ‘was always part of the Basin Plan package’ and that ‘[t]his move makes the Basin Plan untenable for NSW.’

We have received a number of inquiries from clients about the meaning of these statements, and their possible implications for the ongoing management of scarce water resources in our largest – and most important – river system. The following analysis is designed to separate fact from fiction.


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World Wetlands Day 2018

Do we really want to take more water away from two of our iconic, internationally significant wetlands?


2 February 2018


Macquarie Marshes - photo Bev Smiles.

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EDO NSW: Snapshots 2017

As the end of 2017 hurtles towards us, it’s a great time for me to reflect a little on my first months as CEO and to provide you with a snapshot of just some of the critical legal work undertaken by the sensational EDO NSW team during the year.

David Morris

By David Morris, Chief Executive Officer, EDO NSW

20 December 2017

In October I took over as CEO from the wonderful Sue Higginson. I’d like to pay tribute to Sue and the rare and outstanding contribution she’s made, not only to EDO NSW, but to public interest environmental law in Australia and to the environment generally. 

I also want to thank sincerely Wendy Bowman. Wendy is one of EDO NSW’s true champions and in 2017 was the deserving recipient of one of the world’s most prestigious environmental awards, the Goldman Environmental Prize. The prize recognised Wendy’s outstanding work opposing coal developments in the Hunter Valley. Winners of the Goldman award receive a substantial sum of money and, in an act of incredible generosity, Wendy has dedicated a large portion of the winnings to EDO NSW. It is humbling to receive and a testament to how significant Wendy sees our work. 

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Landmark deep seabed mining case in PNG

The Centre for Environmental Law & Community Rights (CELCOR) in Papua New Guinea, our partner through the EDO NSW International Program, has filed legal proceedings against the PNG Government to obtain key documents relating to the Solwara 1 deep sea mining project.

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Access to information case on deep seabed mining in PNG

8 December 2017

Coastal communities in Papua New Guinea (PNG) have launched legal proceedings against the PNG Government to obtain key documents relating to the licensing and environmental impacts of the Solwara 1 deep sea mining project.  

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Horrific whaling footage released under FOI - Defending the public's right to know

28 November 2017

Sea Shepherd Australia has today released rare whaling footage filmed on a 2008 Australian Customs mission to the Antarctic and obtained by EDO NSW under Commonwealth Freedom of Information laws.

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Legal challenge to NSW Government land-clearing Code

27 November 2017

The Nature Conservation Council of NSW (NCC), represented by public interest environmental lawyers Environmental Defenders Office NSW (EDO NSW), is bringing court action that challenges the validity of the Native Vegetation Code 2017, which enables private landholders to carry out large scale clearing of native vegetation without approval or environmental assessment. 

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