Why Tasmania needs the EDO

The Environmental Defenders Office (Tasmania) (EDO Tasmania) is part of a national network of community legal centres providing free advice and information regarding environmental and planning laws.

In December 2013, federal funding we have relied upon since 1996 was cut without warning. These cuts threaten the ongoing operation of EDO Tasmania and may mean that this valuable service is not available in future to help communities to protect the places that they love. So, why does Tasmania need an EDO?

Levelling the playing field

Even though Tasmanian laws provide opportunities to participate in resource management decisions, it is often difficult and daunting for people to take advantage of those opportunities and challenge developments proposed by well-resourced opponents. EDO Tasmania assists by providing clear advice, assisting community members to draft representations regarding proposed developments and representing individuals and community groups in the Resource Planning and Appeals Tribunal or the Planning Commission.

Our involvement has helped to prevent the canal estate at Ralphs Bay, protect residents from industrial pollution, reduce the impact of tourist development in coastal areas and national parks, oppose mining in the Tarkine and improve conditions at salmon farms.

More efficient appeal system

Sometimes the law just isn’t on your side. EDO Tasmania plays an important role in discouraging people from commencing appeals which have no hope of success, or brokering a mediated solution where the risks of proceeding to hearing are too high. In those cases where we do represent clients, our assistance helps to ensure that the case is run efficiently, professionally and with the highest chance of succeeding.

Better information, better participation

EDO Tasmania produces a number of practical education resources to improve public awareness of environmental laws. Understanding the law can help you to identify breaches, take advantage of consultation opportunities, request further information and let your concerns be known to the right people.

Good governance

For small environmental non-government organisations, governance issues can seem like a minefield. EDO Tasmania can assist with questions regarding incorporation, reviewing constitutions, grant reporting obligations or changes to workplace safety requirements.

Law reform

EDO Tasmania makes submissions in relation to proposed changes to laws – defending the protections we have and advocating for more effective protection to ensure that Tasmania’s environment is managed sustainably. It’s all important work and we need your support to keep doing it. Visit our website at www.edotas.org.au to find out more about how to donate or volunteer with EDO Tasmania.

Jessica Feehely
Principal Lawyer EDO