“Empowering the community to protect the environment through law”
Protection of WA’s environment by providing individuals and community groups with environmental legal services including advice, education, representation and opportunity to participate in reform of laws affecting the environment.
The Western Australian EDO is part of a national network of EDOs servicing each Australian State and Territory. Australia’s first EDO was established in New South Wales in 1986. In the early 1990s EDOs were established in Victoria and Queensland.
A group of concerned lawyers joined forces with the Conservation Council of Western Australia Inc to form the Western Australian EDO in late 1995. Funding was obtained from the Commonwealth Attorney-General’s Department, and the EDO commenced full time operation in March 1996.
Like EDOs in other States, the Western Australian EDO operates independently from government.
Take a Journey Through Our History
1995 SeptemberThe EDO begins operating from Murdoch University with volunteers from the environmental movement and legal profession concerned at the lack of assistance and information available to people seeking to protect the environment.
1996 FebruaryThe EDO lodges its first law reform submissions.
1996 JanuaryCommonwealth provides $69,000 recurrent core funding to the EDO, allowing a part-time solicitor and a part-time coordinator to be employed.
1996 MarchThe EDO moves to a Perth office and begins appearing in WA Supreme Court to protect WA’s old growth forests.
1997 DecemberFirst of over 40 fact sheets (plain-English analyses of different environmental laws and regulations) published by the EDO.
1997 MarchPublication of the EDO’s first book, A Guide to Environmental Law in Western Australia.
1997 NovemberThe EDO begins rural outreach service with 1-day forums on land care laws.
1998 OctoberEDO appears in a Supreme Court case concerning objections to mining near Lake Jasper and the D’Entrecasteaux National Park, which confirmed that the Mining Warden can hear objections of an environmental nature.
1998 SeptemberEDO’s website goes online; Law of Landcare in Western Australia published.
1999 – 2000The EDO appears in several cases in the WA Mining Warden’s Court, successfully expanding standing of public to object to mining tenements.
1999 NovemberEDO appears for the Hazelmere Progress Association in Supreme Court proceedings that confirmed a proposed brickworks was a ‘noxious industry’ and therefore not a permitted development.
2000 JanuaryThe EDO begins servicing rural, remote and regional (RRR) areas of WA with a one-off grant of $50,000 from The Myer Foundation.
2000 MarchEDO’s Forest Activism Handbook published.
2000 SeptemberEDO hosts roundtable on Natural Resource Management law reform.
2001 June$55,000 one-off grant from Legal Contribution Fund allows EDO to continue providing core services to WA’s RRR areas; “Coast Lawyer” project initiated.
2003 JuneEDO book, Coast Law in Western Australia, published.
2003 OctoberEDO is a finalist in the WA Environment Awards.
2004 JuneThe EDO receives new recurrent funding from the WA State Government.
2004 SeptemberEDO is again a finalist in the WA Environment Awards.
2007 JuneEDO begins work on Climate Change and Energy Law project.
2010During much of the year, the EDO assists community groups who succeed in turning back efforts to mine coal in Margaret River.
2012Over span of 2 years, the EDO assists Goolarabooloo members in several Supreme Court cases challenging initial planning approvals for a massive liquefied natural gas hub at James Price Point, 50 km north of Broome.
2012 – 2013Representing Nyikina Mangala member opposing proposed coal mine near the Fitzroy River in the Western Kimberley.
2013The EDO acts as junior counsel in successful WA Supreme Court action that leads to overturning of State’s approval of $45B gas development at James Price Point, 50 km north of Broome.
2014EDO represents Sea Shepherd and others in WA Supreme Court action that sought, unsuccessfully, to stop WA Premier’s controversial shark drum line program; though EDO loses, Court agrees action was in the “public interest” and does not award costs to the State.
20142014 Commonwealth funding removed by Abbott Government
2014 – 2015EDO also appears in 2 WA State Administrative Tribunal proceedings, on behalf of rural residents of York Shire opposed to SITA’s proposed municipal waste landfill near Mt Observation NP, and on behalf of other rural landowners opposed to expansion of sand mine near Ellenbrook.
20152015 State funding removed by Barnett Government
2015-2016The EDO represents 3 community groups in WA Mining Warden’s Court who seek to stop proposed iron ore mining in the banded iron formations of the Helena and Aurora range. See more here.
2016 NovemberEDOWA launches a new website. Sponsored by Blake Digital.
2016 OctoberEDO moves to new office at City West Lotteries House