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Category: Articles

Fact Sheet on WA Government’s Climate Change Issues Paper

In September 2019, the Government of Western Australia released its Issues Paper on Climate Change in Western Australia (Climate Issues Paper) to inform the development of the new State Climate Policy. The Climate Issues Paper is open for public consultation until 29 November 2019. This consultation process is a crucial opportunity for the Western Australian public to contribute to the development of the new State Climate Policy and to ensure that it is capable of proactively and effectively reducing WA’s greenhouse gas emissions and adapting to climate change risks.

EDOWA has published a Q&A style fact sheet that provides some background to the Climate Issues Paper, compares it to climate policies in other Australian states and territories and addresses some legal issues. Given the consultation questions in the Climate Issues Paper are quite technical, the fact sheet also proposes some general issues that can be addressed in public submissions.

The aim of this fact sheet is to inform public submissions. EDOWA encourages interested members of the public to make submissions by visiting the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation’s consultation hub or sending submissions directly to the Department via email or post (please see the fact sheet for these contact details).

Submission to Senate Inquiry into Australia’s Faunal Extinction Crisis

EDOWA has today lodged a submission to the Senate Inquiry into Australia’s Faunal Extinction Crisis. The Inquiry is conducted by the Commonwealth Senate Standing Committees on Environment and Communications.

Our submission, prepared jointly with the Conservation Council of WA, uses the Yeelirrie uranium project as a case study to highlight the urgent need for law reform to address the extinction crisis. This submission is in addition to an earlier  submission by the EDOs of Australia, lodged in 2018.

After working on the recent litigation challenging the State approval of the Yeelirrie project, and investigating the Commonwealth approval, we believe our environmental protection legislation is not meeting community expectations and preventing extinction.

In our submission we argue that the project approvals illustrate gaps and weaknesses in current law. Law reform should extend to a new federal environmental protection statute, and a national Environmental Protection Authority – and in the short term our current legislation should be amended to ensure that Ministers cannot approve a project in the knowledge it will cause extinction, and against accepted scientific advice.

You can read the EDOWA/CCWA submission in full below.

If you would like to help EDOWA fight the extinction crisis, head to our crowdfunder to donate before it closes next Monday!

Law Graduate Opportunity – Practical Legal Training Placement at EDOWA

The Environmental Defender’s Office WA invites dedicated and self-motivated law graduates to apply for its Practical Legal Training placement.

This position is unpaid and three days per week. Ideally, candidates will have a demonstrated interest in environmental law or a related field.

As EDOWA has limited resources, this position requires an enthusiastic and diligent individual who is capable of working both independently and as part of a dedicated team.
Our PLT placement provides a unique experience due to EDOWA being Western Australia’s only environmental community legal centre. As a law graduate at EDOWA, you will undertake work that is varied, hands on and challenging in a friendly and vibrant work environment. In particular, you will be responsible for:
• Conducting legal research;
• Drafting advices to clients;
• Preparing and maintaining client files;
• Attending court (Wardens Court, Magistrates Court, Supreme Court) as required;
• Meeting with clients;
• Participating in community outreach seminars and workshops.
By the end of this placement, you will have developed high-level legal skills and be ready to save the world, one tree at a time!
The ideal start date for this placement would be from August 2019.
If you are interested in joining EDOWA’s team, please email your cover letter, CV and academic transcript to Tim Macknay at tmacknay@edowa.org.au by 22 July 2019.

EDOWA Launches ‘Against Extinction’ Crowdfunder Campaign!

The Environmental Defender’s Office WA (Inc) is excited to announce the official launch of its new fundraising campaign, ‘Against Extinction‘. This campaign is focused on fighting the extinction crisis and protecting WA’s unique native flora and fauna.

Help EDOWA fight the extinction crisis!

Worldwide, a recent report by the United Nations warns that more than one million species are under threat of extinction. If extinction rates continue to accelerate, it will have serious and unpredictable impacts  – not only on nature, but on humanity as well. This extinction crisis is occurring primarily as a result of ecological exploitation and climate change and has become a hot topic internationally following the recent Extinction Rebellion protests in the UK and Australia.

The United Nations report highlights that Australia has the highest rate of mammal extinctions in the world and that vital changes are required to restore and protect nature.

The extinction crisis is also a live issue here in Western Australia, where our well-loved and iconic endangered and threatened species such as the Carnaby’s cockatoo, quokka and numbat are under serious and immediate threat.

But there is hope – while Australia has a terrible extinction record to date, the continent is also home to some of the last untouched landscapes on the planet. We need to work together to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions, protect our unique forests and native vegetation, and prevent the development of ecologically destructive industries.

Donations are crucial for the survival of both EDOWA and WA’s unique species. We are aiming to raise $25,000 in the next 8 weeks to enable us to continue fighting the extinction crisis by working hard towards:

  • The effective regulation and reduction of Western Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions;
  • The protection of species from ecologically destructive developments such as the Yeelirrie uranium mine which risks the extinction of 12 unique subterranean fauna species;
  • The preservation of Western Australia’s pristine and unique forests and biodiversity from destructive clearing and logging.

Please donate today.

Thank you for supporting EDOWA, the State’s only legal voice for the environment. Your donations are greatly appreciated, and will help fight the extinction crisis here in Western Australia!

Keep an eye out over the coming weeks for more details about our closing event on 8 August.

Fact Sheet on EPA Greenhouse Gas Assessment Guidance

On 14 March 2019 the Western Australian Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) withdrew its revised Environmental Factor Guideline and Technical Guidance on Mitigating Greenhouse Gas Emissions (GHG Assessment Guidance) published on 7 March 2019 in order to undertake further consultation. The draft GHG Assessment Guidance and a Background Paper were released on 10 June 2019 for 12 weeks of public consultation ending on 2 September 2019.

EDOWA has published a Q&A style fact sheet that outlines the legislative framework that applies to the EPA’s draft GHG Assessment Guidance and the content of these documents.

The aim of this fact sheet is to inform public submissions and correct some misconceptions in the media surrounding the function and validity of the draft GHG Assessment Guidance. EDOWA encourages interested members of the public to visit the EPA’s consultation hub to make submissions.


2040 Fundraiser Film Screening

Join EDOWA at a special screening of the new documentary “2040” from award-winning director Damon Gameau. An open letter to the director’s 4-year-old daughter, 2040 explores a hypothetical future if existing solutions to environmental issues are embraced now. Told through a compelling mix of traditional documentary and “fact-based dreaming”, this film offers a hopeful perspective on addressing climate change.

Before the film screens you can hear from our new Principal Solicitor, Tim Macknay, on EDOWA’s climate change work. Proceeds will help us continue to hold WA’s biggest polluters to account and strengthen legal and policy frameworks.

You can watch the trailer below, and make sure to purchase tickets here – tickets are $25 ($9 goes to EDOWA). We look forward to seeing you!


When: Sunday, 9 June 2019 (Tim will speak at 6.00pm, film screens at 6.30pm)

Where: Luna on SX (13 Essex Street, Fremantle)

RSVP to the Facebook event here.



Meet our new Principal Solicitor Tim Macknay


We are excited to welcome Tim Macknay as the new Principal Solicitor of EDOWA.

Born and bred in Western Australia, Tim has worked in environmental law and policy since 2006. This includes work for industry in private practice, government work and pro bono work for environmental NGOs and community legal centres. Before commencing at EDOWA, Tim had a senior legal role with the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation.

Tim has long been an admirer of EDOWA’s work and is delighted to have the opportunity to take a more direct role in addressing the climate crisis and in protecting WA’s irreplaceable forests, wildlife and coastlines.

Welcome Tim!