The latest edition of the EDO Bulletin is now available here. This edition provides updates on the RFA review, the Parliamentary Inquiry into the Register of Environmental Organisations, Japan’s new whaling program in the Southern Ocean, the Wellington Park Management Plan hearing and a range of other opportunities to comment. To subscribe, click here.
EDO Tasmania is a non-profit community legal centre advising on environmental and planning law. Our aim is to increase public awareness of environmental laws and remedies, and help the community to secure a healthy, sustainable Tasmania.
An expert panel established by the International Whaling Commission’s Scientific Committee has rejected a new proposal by the Japanese government to take over 300 minke whales each year from the Southern Ocean. The panel found that there was insufficient evidence to establish that the proposed whaling was for “scientific” purposes.
For a good summary of the decision, and its consequences, read Tony Press’s recent article in the Conversation.
On 8 April 2015, the Federal Government released the long-awaited Energy White Paper. The White Paper makes a number of key recommendations:
- Increasing Australia’s production of energy and energy sources
This is a dominant theme of the Paper. The Paper focuses on the gas market, and expresses support for infrastructure investment to capitalise on gas resources. Fossil fuel and uranium energy sources are supported in favour of renewable energy sources.
- Adopting a “technology-neutral” approach
The Paper considers that the energy industry itself is best placed to encourage innovation. The White Paper does not outline incentives to facilitate uptake of renewable energy options, but does note an intention to invest in carbon capture technology to drive down the price of CCS approaches.
- Increasing competition and the privatisation of energy assets
The Paper concludes that increased competition will bring down energy prices, and privatisation will assist in increasing competition.
- Removing “unnecessary regulatory barriers”
Consistent with the rhetoric of the one-stop shop policy, there is little detail provided on what regulation is considered “unnecessary”.
- Encouraging investment
The Paper concludes that “streamlined” regulation and increased certainty will encourage development and investment in the energy sectors. In particular, the Paper proposes harmonisation of regulation and policy across the national energy sector as a key priority for the COAG Energy Council.
- Informing consumers
The Paper encourages efforts to improve awareness and help consumers to make informed choices about energy suppliers and energy use.
The White Paper has been criticised by a number of prominent economists, including Ross Garnaut, for its failure to address climate change as a driver of energy policy, to capitalise on Australia’s significant renewable energy resources or to rigorously assess options to achieve emission reduction targets for 2020 and beyond.
** EDO Tasmania thanks volunteer, Mikala Jayatilaka, for her assistance in reviewing the Energy White Paper
On 26 March 2015, the Attorney-General announced that the Commonwealth government will restore funding to Legal Aid Commissions, Indigenous legal assistance and Community Legal Centres for the next two years… except for Environmental Defenders Offices.
EDO Tasmania is genuinely pleased that legal services across the country will have their funding restored. However, the exclusion of EDOs highlights the government’s ongoing failure to recognise that communities need access to legal assistance to defend the places that are important to them.
As well as providing community support, EDOs facilitate law reform, make submissions regarding proposed changes to laws, defend existing protections and advocate for more effective protections to ensure the environment is managed sustainably.
It keeps us busy – in the past four months alone, EDO Tasmania has successfully challenged a mining decision in the Tarkine, represented the Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre to secure an injunction preventing 4WDs in sensitive cultural heritage areas, supported groups responding to the draft TWWHA management plan, advocated for an extension of the fracking moratorium and helped numerous individuals to understand their legal rights and defend places that they love.
In coming months, we’ll be releasing a discussion paper recommending changes to lift the standards of Tasmania’s environmental legislation, participating in Planning Commission hearings regarding woodchip barges and cable car amendments, producing a practical guide for farmers and responding to Southern interim planning schemes, the review of the Forest Practices Code and the inquiry into the regulation of aquaculture.
This is important public interest work that no one else does in Tasmania.
In light of Senator Brandis’s announcement confirming the exclusion of EDO Tasmania from future Australian Government funding, we urgently need your help. Please make a tax deductible donation today for environmental justice in Tasmania. Your support will enable us to keep using the law to protect the environment.
Our thanks to everyone who’s already contributed, and to those who keep fighting to protect this precious island. We couldn’t do it without you!
Read the EDOs of Australia press release here.
(Gorgeous photo taken off Tasman Island by Frederique Olivier)
The latest edition of the EDO Bulletin is now available here. This edition provides updates on the Commonwealth funding decision, recent reports raising concerns about threats to Tasmania’s Swift Parrot population, climate change impacts on food production, amendments to the Forest Practices Code and proposed legislation to ban fracking. To subscribe, click here.
Due to our limited office space, we are trialling a new external volunteer programme for university and legal prac students. Students can register for one (or both) of two options:
- on-call volunteering (to be sent regular research tasks)
- project volunteering (to help with occasional large research projects or events)
For more information about this programme, go to our Volunteering page.
The latest edition of the EDO Bulletin is now available here. This edition provides updates on action of illegal fishing, ANEDO’s response to the inquiry into whether environmental laws intrude on personal freedoms, proposed legislation to give landowners the right to refuse mining companies access to their land and a range of opportunities to comment. To subscribe, click here.
Environmental law has been, and will remain, important to my sense of ‘what’s right’ about our human relationship with the environment
On 5-6 March 2015, the Law Council’s Australian Environment and Planning Law Group honoured two significant contributors to environmental law:
- Dr Gerry Bates was also honoured for his long time commitment to the development and practice of environmental law. Most environmental law students have referred to his text book at some stage! Born and raised in northern England, Gerry has been a lecturer at the University of Tasmania, a Greens parliamentarian and has edited the Environment and Planning Law Journal for the past decade.You can read Gerry’s speech in reply to the tribute here.
- Rupert Watters was awarded the Mahla Pearlman Young Environmental Lawyer of the Year Award, for his pro bono involvement in a range of public interest environmental law cases, including challenges to the Dual Gas proposal for EDO Vic (now Environmental Justice Australia) and EDO Qld’s Alpha coal matter. Rupert has previously said that pro bono work is a moral obligation for lawyers.
The Government has released its Fracking policy, which extends the current moratorium on fracking for gas or petroleum until March 2020. The policy makes clear that exploration not involving fracking may continue during that period.
The policy recognises the uncertainty regarding impacts and the genuine concerns expressed by the community, including farmers and producers throughout Tasmania. The government will undertake a full review of fracking practices prior to 2020, having regard to regulatory frameworks and environmental and health impacts experienced in other states.