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, firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
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