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)