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July 5th 2012
How the Qld Government just crippled the state's enviro defenders

If you are worried about a development that threatens your local environment or even the Great Barrier Reef, or you are a farmer about to have your groundwater extracted by mining or gas companies, or you are looking for help to know what’s lawfully possible to protect local bushland or wildlife habitat. Well, there is a small but very important place you could get good quality legal advice. It is called the Environmental Defenders Office or EDO but, yesterday, the Queensland government ceased, without notice, from June 30, all support to the organisation - about $97,000 or half the body’s recurrent funding.

In a message released tonight the EDO, who have an office in Brisbane and Cairns, write, “The withdrawal of funding guts our ability to help landholders, individuals and community groups understand and act on their legal rights to protect the environment.  Without our office there is no legal support available for those that want to protect the environment in the public interest. Our invaluable community litigants handbook will cease publication.”

And while some will surely see this as the prerogative of a landslide majority government, one of the most powerful weapons which intimidate individuals and communities who try to defend their local environment, for whatever cause, is the great cost in taking legal action.

The ability of citizens to use their democratic right to defend the environment in the public interest, usually for no financial gain, against multi-million dollar companies which stand to make millions, just got way harder in Queensland.

To find out about the EDO (Click here)

If you think the EDO is worth defending then you can:

*contact Attorney-General and Minister for Justice, Jarrod Bleijie, and politely tell him about the essential role the EDO play in helping the community understand and access their legal rights;

*donate to EDO Qld to at least allow them to deliver their Handbook guide to Mining & Coal Seam Gas or continue their general services, including answering the 50+ people on their waiting list for assistance to protect the environment; and

*spread the word by commenting on media reports and telling your friends through Facebook, Twitter and your local networks.

George Hirst

How the Qld Government just crippled the state's enviro defenders
Jenny Stirling
July 5th 2012
Newman has overplayed his hand here. It looks very bad that he has shut down the one place that farmers resisting coal seam gas development could go and get free legal advice that was so well informed about their issues.
Wendy Tubman
July 5th 2012
This withdrawal of support is a devastating blow for the environment. The EDO is basically 'legal aid for the environment'; it enables landholders, individuals and community groups to exercise their legal rights to defend the environment - not for personal gain but in the public interest.

We know that from our massive loss of diversity to the threats on the Great Barrier Reef our environment is at serious risk of permanent damage - and that damage is overwhelmingly related to human development.

The EDO assists government to monitor and protect the environment. It plays a vital role, and the loss of funding will weaken considerably its ability to assist, advise and stand up for those defending the legal rights of the environment, often against developers with bottomless pockets. The EDO redresses the imbalance between big business and the voiceless environment.

Without the EDO our world will be a poorer, a less healthy and a less sustainable place to pass on to future generations.

We are talking about a relatively miniscule amount of money versus the potential loss of significant parts of our world.

I urge everyone with an interest in environmental protection to please contact the Minister - by email, phone or letter - and ask him to reconsider.
David Ede
July 5th 2012
I agree with Can Do Campbell cutting out waste and over supported committees like the Enviro Defenders.

The penny has not dropped yet eh.

The Labour Government sent this wonderful state of ours down the gurgler. Some one has to fix it and fix it quick. Unfortunately the medicin will not be nice.

I have just had seven goes at starting that business. Those attempts got got blocked six times until I got all my ducks in a row.

So: there are enough State and Federal Government Departments blocking possible and actual environmental transgressions and policing things now. If you have a problem go to one of those bodies. They would love to here from you. They have wonderful and dedicated people ( Seriously) willing and ready to stop bad environmental issues.

David EDE
West Point.
July 5th 2012
Hey David from West Point I hear there's talk that coal seam gas exploration might be happening out your way. Don't worry though. The proposal will only affect ground water, biodiversity, property values, fish stock and your lifestyle.  You might be able to get help from a Govt Department but if the Govt is so blatantly wanting development at any cost do you really thing some Bureaucrat is going to stick his or her neck out to help you? I think they'll be more concerned about keeping their job. I guess the alternative is to take out a loan or mortgage your house to defend your patch of paradise. Good luck with it!! 

Sorry mate, just joshin, but there's plenty of people it is or will be true for.

What do you think? Send us your comments.

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