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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.

After the Royal Commission, what next for Murray-Darling Basin law reform?

While most people are still digesting the recently released 756-page final report of the South Australian Murray Darling Basin Royal Commission, law reform responses are already being drafted to address some of its alarming findings.

Parliamentary responses have included private member’s bills ranging from a broad sector-based approach – for example to ban cotton exports – to a specific amendment to the water buy-back limit under the Commonwealth Water Act 2007, to calls from indigenous groups for legislation to establish a federal Royal Commission into the issue.

This blog identifies the key findings made by Commissioner Bret Walker SC and discusses what could be next for law reform in the Murray Darling Basin.

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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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Landmark legal win for climate and community

Chief Justice of the Land and Environment Court Brian Preston SC handed down his judgment today in a landmark case, refusing approval of a new coal mine to be built just outside of the town of Gloucester in the NSW Upper Hunter Valley. This is the first time an Australian court has refused consent for a coal mine on the basis of its climate change impacts.

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Hearing on lethal shark drumlines

Our legal challenge to the use of lethal shark drumlines within the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park on behalf of Humane Society International (HSI) commenced in the Administrative Appeals Tribunal in Brisbane on Wednesday.

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Video: A case for sharks

David Morris of EDO NSW and Nicola Beynon of HSI Australia discuss our legal challenge to the permit granted by the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority to install 173 lethal drumlines throughout the Park.

Thank you to HSI for the drumline footage in this film.

Read more about this case >>

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Documenting reports of rural land clearing

We receive numerous calls to our legal advice line from people concerned about land clearing in their local rural areas, especially since new rural land clearing laws came into force in August 2017, with a subsequent dramatic increase in rates of clearing.

Often, clearing will be authorised under a development consent or under the rural land clearing laws. However, it can be very difficult to know whether any clearing you observe is authorised and being carried out lawfully.

The only option is to report the clearing to the regulator – in this case the Office of Environment and Heritage (OEH).

This form is intended to keep a record of reports made to the OEH in order to inform EDO NSW law reform and compliance work. Any information you give in this form will be kept confidential and no personal information will be made public. 

Before completing the form

Before completing this form, please report the clearing you have witnessed to the OEH by calling the Environment Line on 131 555. You can make reports anonymously if you wish.

Ask for (and record) a reference number and make a note of the date and time of the report as well as who you spoke to.

Completing our form

Please provide as much detail as possible about your report and the clearing you observed, including:

  • any relevant approvals you are aware of;
  • the method of clearing (eg. chainsaw, bulldozer, burning);
  • the type of vegetation cleared (ecological communities and/or specific species)
  • estimated diameter of tree trunks;
  • any known or suspected threatened species or ecological communities on site;
  • any evidence of injured or killed wildlife;
  • any evidence of felled hollow bearing trees;
  • any evidence of soil or ground cover disturbance;
  • any evidence of water pollution from run-off associated with soil disturbance;
  • estimated buffer distances (if any) around streams;
  • estimate of overall size of area cleared; and
  • evidence of purpose of clearing (eg. crops, grazing etc).

If you have evidence of the clearing (photos, videos etc), please indicate what you have.


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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Court challenge to lethal shark drumlines within Great Barrier Reef Marine Park

A legal challenge to the use of lethal shark drumlines within the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park commences in the Administrative Appeals Tribunal in Brisbane on Wednesday 30 January 2019.

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Pacific plastics guide included at UN meeting

Regulating plastics in Pacific Island Countries: a guide for policymakers and legislative drafters, produced by EDO NSW with SPREP and EDO ACT, was included as an information document at the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Fourth Intergovernmental Review Meeting in late 2018.

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