EDOs of Australia

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Environmental Defenders’ Offices (EDOs) of Australia consists of nine independently constituted and managed community environmental law centres located in each State and Territory of Australia.[1] EDOs of Australia is notable as Australia's main public interest advocacy law organisation in environmental matters.

EDOs of Australia
Non-Governmental Organisation
Industry Environmental law
Founded 1996
Headquarters All states and territories of Australia
Products Legal representation, advice, submissions on policy formulation, submissions on legislation, and education designed to facilitate public participation in environmental decision making.
Services Each EDO is dedicated to protecting the environment in the public interest.
Website www.edo.org.au/

EDOs of Australia provides legal support in court cases on environmental matters. EDOs for Australia also plays an advocacy role, lobbying on environmental policy matters.[2]

EDOs of Australia and climate change[edit]

Several major Australian NGOs, including EDOs of Australia and the Australian Conservation Foundation, have been lobbying has for some years for the inclusion of global warming as a matter of national environmental significance in Australia's main environmental protection legislation, the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.[3][4] This campaign was related to a range of court cases with which EDOs of Australia was involved, mostly unsuccessfully, seeking recognition of greenhouse gas emissions as a matter that should be considered in environmental impact assessment procedures. These included those known as the Bowen Basin case,[5] the Anvil Hill cases,[6][7] and the Gray case.[8] While many of these cases were lost, they raised the profile of climate change as a legal issue, particularly in the mining industry.[3]

Inclusion of greenhouse gas emissions as a trigger in the Australian legislation became a policy of the Australian Labor Party.[9]

NSW EDO[edit]

The NSW EDO is a notable environmental organisation having worked on numerous environment cases over past years.[10]

A notable case in which EDO NSW was involved is the Humane Society International Inc v Kyodo Senpaku Kaisha Ltd. This was a test case to determine whether whaling by Kyodo in the Australian Whale Sanctuary was against Australian law. The court found that it was and made orders that Kyodo not even interfere with any Antarctic minke whale, fin whale or humpback whale in the sanctuary.[11]

EDO Victoria[edit]

A notable case in which EDO Victoria was involved was Australian Conservation Foundation v Minister for Planning. In that case it was held that the planning panel considering submissions in relation to a planning scheme amendment under the Planning and Environment Act 1987 (Vic) to expand a coal mine to extend the operation of a major coal-fired power station by 20 years cannot exclude submissions about the greenhouse gas implications of using brown coal.[12]

Environment Defenders Office (Vic) maintains an open database of environmental law cases and other information on its Environmental Law Online site.

EDO Queensland[edit]

Environmental Defenders Office (Qld) Inc. (EDO Qld) has been involved in numerous public interest cases since 1989, including the first test of the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act (EPBC) 1999 in Booth v Bosworth.[13] This test case halted the killing of flying foxes by electric grid in Queensland because of its impact on the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area. In 2003 EDO Qld acted for WWF Australia and Queensland Conservation Council in QCC v Minister for the Environment and Heritage,[14] where the court held that the Minister had to consider the indirect impacts of the Nathan Dam on the Great Barrier Reef. Most recently, EDO Qld represented farmers and the Coast and Country Association of Queensland Inc. (CCAQ) in a legal action against the approval of the Alpha coal mine project in the Galilee Basin. The association argued in court the proposed mine would contribute to climate change and have permanent and irreversible effects on ground water.

EDO Qld has advocated for better public access to mining notices,[15] holds regular workshops across metropolitan and regional Queensland and offers an evening telephone advice service. In 2012, notwithstanding the fact that the then-Queensland Attorney-General, Jarrod Bleijie, acknowledged that Queensland's EDOs were "the only places where Queensland communities can obtain professional legal advice free of charge when faced with public interest environmental, planning and health concerns from proposed developments",[16] the State Government withdrew all funding.[16] The following year, on 17 December 2013, the Federal Government withdrew all funding to Environmental Defenders’ Offices around Australia.[17] EDO Qld now relies solely on community donations to carry out public interest legal work.


  1. ^ "EDOs of Australia". Edo.org.au. 2016-06-15. Retrieved 2016-12-04. 
  2. ^ EDOs of Australia, Network policy submissions, retrieved January 2009.
  3. ^ a b Kirsty Ruddock, 'Does climate change litigation work?' National Environmental Law Review, Summer, 2007.
  4. ^ Godden, Lee & Peel, Jacqueline. "The Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (Cth): Dark sides of virtue". (2007) 31 Melbourne University Law Review 106. 
  5. ^ Wildlife Preservation Society of Queensland Proserpine/Whitsunday Branch Inc v Minister for the Environment and Heritage [2006] FCA 736, Federal Court (Australia).
  6. ^ Anvil Hill Project Watch Association Inc v Minister for the Environment & Water Resources [2008] FCAFC 3, Federal Court (Full Court) (Australia).
  7. ^ Anvil Hill Project Watch Association Inc v Minister for Environment and Water Resources & Centennial Hunter Pty Ltd [2007] FCA 1480, Federal Court (Australia).
  8. ^ Gray v Minister for Planning [2006] NSWLEC 720, Land and Environment Court (NSW, Australia).
  9. ^ Australian Labor Party, ALP National Platform and Constitution 2007, Chapter 9: Combating Climate Change and Building a Sustainable Environment, retrieved January 2009
  10. ^ "Past cases". Archived from the original on 18 February 2017. 
  11. ^ Humane Society International Inc v Kyodo Senpaku Kaisha Ltd [2008] FCA 3, Federal Court (Australia).
  12. ^ Australian Conservation Foundation v Minister for Planning [2004] VCAT 2029, Civil and Administrative Tribunal (Vic, Australia).
  13. ^ Booth v Bosworth [2001] FCA 1453, Federal Court (Australia).
  14. ^ Queensland Conservation Council Inc v Minister for the Environment and Heritage [2003] FCA 1463, Federal Court (Australia).
  15. ^ "Letter to Premier on mining & CSG processes" (PDF). 15 June 2011. 
  16. ^ a b "EDO QLD Funding Update". Archived from the original on 13 May 2013. Retrieved 2012-11-23. 
  17. ^ "Outrage as environmental lawyers lose funding". Abc.net.au. 18 December 2013. Retrieved 4 December 2016. 

External links[edit]

See also[edit]