EDOWA recently contributed to an EDOs of Australia submission to the Department of the Environment and Energy’s (DotEE) Review of Australia’s climate change policies – Discussion Paper.
The objective of this inquiry is to allow a broad review into the suitability of Australia’s Climate Change policies, which include Australian laws produced at the state and federal levels, as well as international agreements.
EDOs of Australia published 12 recommendations as part of the collaborative submission. Those recommendations are:
1. Set long-term and interim reduction targets in climate legislation that will achieve the Paris Agreement’s goals.
2. Put a price on pollution.
3. Consider risks and impacts of 2 degrees warming (or higher) when assessing ‘policy impacts’.
4. Integrate climate considerations, emissions and targets in National Energy Market (NEM) laws and decisions.
5. Strengthen the Safeguard Mechanism and national emissions standards for power stations and mines.
6. Integrate emissions reduction in land-use planning and development laws, and mandate robust mainstream building sustainability standards.
7. Decision-makers must consider the risks and impacts of exported (scope 3) emissions.
8. Adopt a climate change impact trigger and land-clearing trigger under national environmental law (EPBC Act).
9. Identify and reduce subsidies for polluting activities, and support communities in transition.
10. Increase government capacity and resourcing for effective climate change responses.
11. Place robust safeguards on land carbon sector and international carbon units.
12. Link actions on the Paris Agreement and the Sustainable Development Goals.
EDOWA recently contributed to an EDOs of Australia submission to the inquiry into National Water Reform. The inquiry is being conducted by the Productivity Commission.
The objective of this inquiry is to allow an assessment of progress in achieving the objectives and outcomes of the National Water Initiative (NWI) and the need for any future reform.
The five issues EDOA identified are:
1. Access to information
2. Compliance, enforcement and markets
3. Climate change
4. Protection of environmental water
5. Extractive industries including mining
- EDOA recommends that steps are taken to improve transparency and free public access to information.
- That detailed and decisive action is undertaken by relevant agencies into the lack of uniform regulation and enforcement measures for all catchments; that action is undertaken into inaccurate water metering and reporting; and that action is undertaken by these same agencies to address related distortions in the water market.
- That climate change be addressed within the National Water Initiative in order to maintain water security for the environment, industry and regional communities.
- That environmental water held by the Commonwealth Environmental Water Holder (CEWH) is protected from extraction as it flows through the system.
- That extractive industries are included within broader, uniform planning and water entitlement frameworks in all jurisdictions.
Find a copy of the submission here, or view it below:
So you can get to know us better, we are introducing you to all the key players at EDOWA who make sure the office stays running. In case you missed it in our April newsletter, here is a brief chat with Piddington Society paralegal, Jacob Wotherspoon.
How long have you been with EDO?
I have been working as a paralegal for EDOWA, in conjunction with the Piddington Society Justice Project, for the last 2 months.
What’s the best thing about working at EDO?
Highlights of my experience so far with EDOWA include preparation of legal documents and records pertinent to casework, and being instrumental in the provision of legal advice to members of the community.
What is the most challenging thing about working at EDO?
Daily operations at EDOWA require a diverse range of responsibilities to be undertaken. With EDOWA I am learning to develop skills and traits crucial to a professional law setting which typically are not covered in academic coursework.
Favourite environmental law case?
Telstra Corporation Limited v Hornsby Shire Council (2006) 67 NSWLR 256. This was a case where Telstra sought to improve a council’s mobile reception, and the council was worried about the (non-existent) health and safety impacts of the antenna. Preston CJ pens a defining judgment on the precautionary principle. I am interested in this case for it touched upon larger themes of community education and public awareness of environmental matters.
The EDOWA’s key priorities for 2017 are:
- State-based action on climate change – we will both identify and promote the pathways for the State to take better account of national and international commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. This will include scrutiny of environmental impact assessment and approvals processes in respect of greenhouse gas emissions, as well as advocating for a WA Climate Change Act, drawing on the experience of other domestic legislation.
- Protection of WA’s biodiversity – we will use existing legislation (including the new Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016 (WA) (BC Act)) to advise on and advocate for better protection of WA’s biodiversity. We will promote the reform opportunities of the new BC Act by contributing submissions on the draft regulations and proposing amendments to strengthen the Act.
- National coordination of EDOs – following recent discussions about improved coordination of the EDOs across Australia, we will explore ways to access the expertise and greater resources of other EDOs to assist clients with strategic litigation projects with national significance (e.g. national cases for climate action). We will also provide input into national law reform projects (e.g. the 2017 review of the Commonwealth government’s climate change policies), to ensure that those projects include a WA perspective.
- Law reform – we will consider undertaking other law reform work in response to government actions and legislative agendas, including access to justice (e.g. 3rd party appeal rights; the creation of a specialised land and environment court; and challenges to environmental activism rights) and water law.
We will undertake a variety of activities to deliver these priorities, including:
- advising and representing community groups and individuals;
- strategic advocacy to promote law reform, including engagement with politicians, government agencies, EDO members and the general public;
- coordinating with client and other civil society and academic organisations to undertake interdisciplinary research to develop materials in support of law reform and community engagement;
- delivering community seminars and workshops on high priority strategic issues; and
- providing updated and accessible fact sheets and other environmental legal information to the community.
At an organisational level, we plan to:
- Attract additional supporters and funding
- Develop a Communications and Engagement Plan
- Continue reform of governance (EDO WA (Inc) Rules, policies & NACLC1 Guidelines) and national linkages
- Maintain and increase staffing and management committee membership
- Reinvigorate our Volunteer and Graduate Programs
- Transition to an electronic file management system
Download the PDF
Rey Resources has applied for a licence to build its Duchess Paradise coal mine, almost 200 kilometres south-east of Derby, near the Fitzroy River. The Environmental Protection Authority has determined that the Duchess Paradise Project shall be assessed at the level of Public Environmental Review.
The EDOWA is representing a traditional owner who has lodged an objection to Rey Resources being granted a mining licence for the coal project. Our client raises a number of issues in her objection including that the Fitzroy River forms part of one of the largest networks of unregulated tropical rivers in the world and has unique wilderness values, that the Camballin floodplain within the Fitzroy River catchment is an important refuge for nationally and internationally significant migratory birds; that the Fitzroy River has great spiritual and cultural significant for indigenous people in the region and that mining development cumulatively is likely to impact negatively on the flow regime and water quality in the Fitzroy River and its tributaries.
The matter is next listed in Court in February 2017.
Please donate to allow us to keep providing assistance in matters such as this.
The Helena and Aurora Range (Aboriginal name ‘Bungalbin’) is a magnificent banded ironstone formation (BIF) range in Western Australia.
10 years ago, the State’s Environment minister of the day announced these ranges would become a national park. But a few days later, cabinet overturned the decision, downgrading the area to a conservation park, which despite its name, allows mining applications.
We are representing a number of objectors to the current mining application in the Helena Aurora Ranges. Our clients say that this area of Western Australia should be protected, and we agree. The matter is progressing and we are next in Court in early 2017.
For further information on this case, please see the lateline video here.