News

EDO’s role is ‘more relevant than ever’ service says

WORK GOES ON: EDO solicitor Sue Higginson said the service would continue to provide free advice and education.
WORK GOES ON: EDO solicitor Sue Higginson said the service would continue to provide free advice and education.

DESPITE sustained political attacks and lobbying by the mining industry, the Environmental Defender's Office has announced it has secured funding until at least July 2014 and will maintain its Lismore office.

Senior solicitor Sue Higginson said one position would be lost in Lismore (cutting it from 3.5 to 2.5), with funding being cut by 27%.

"This will put us back to the 2007 funding level, and we have had to cut back one staff position, which will mean our outreach capacity is reduced, but we will be working harder than ever to maintain the best service we can," she said.

The EDO provides free advice and education to the community on a variety of issues relating to environmental law.

But last November it came under attack from Energy Minister Chris Hartcher, who accused the publicly funded service of being aligned with "radical socialists" and having "a leftist agenda to destroy the economy".

The government then announced in December it had pulled the plug on the EDO's funding.

It redirected money to Legal Aid and forbade state funding for agencies "providing legal advice to activists and lobby groups," which is essentially the EDO's core business.

It was revealed by the Sydney Morning Herald that Premier Barry O'Farrell had been lobbied by the NSW Minerals Council and the Australian Coal Association in October to "cease funding the EDO as a matter of urgency".

WORK GOES ON: EDO solicitor Sue Higginson said the service would continue to provide free advice and education.
WORK GOES ON: EDO solicitor Sue Higginson said the service would continue to provide free advice and education.

The EDO's future was uncertain and it was feared that services including the Lismore office (which services regions as far afield as Port Macquarie and Armidale) would have to be cut.

But EDO executive director Jeff Smith announced this week that their main source of income, the Public Purpose Fund (PPF) of the Law Society of NSW, had been secured for the 2013-14 financial year.

"EDO NSW is delighted that the PPF... has continued to support our public interest environmental law service for the people of NSW, from the cities to the regions and remote rural areas. At one stage it appeared that our entire funding was under serious threat, such was the intensity of the attacks on the EDO, but for now at least the worst has been averted," he said.

Sue Higginson said EDO Northern Rivers had been involved in advising the Lock the Gate alliance and individual landowners of their rights regarding CSG, as well as high-profile cases including Splendour in the Grass and Champions Quarry, but much of their work is around advising "mums and dads" about planning laws.

"There are major reforms coming for the NSW planning system... The government has released their green paper (a preliminary discussion paper) and are planning the most significant changes to the Planning Act since 1970. So our role will be more relevant than ever," she said.

Topics:  csg, eda, environment, politics


Stay Connected

Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.

Not whether we win or lose, but how we play

Not whether you win or lose but how you play the game.

A gentle man turns 100

Reg Allen turns 100 with staff, friends and family at St Joseph's Nursing Home in Lismore.

Gentle man turns 100 with wife by his side.

No chutney and scones on verandah today

Dr Airdre Grant

Life in the country you don't see in the magazines.

Latest deals and offers

Mayor's plan to bring Son of Lismore's cabinet home

MAYOR Jenny Dowell wants Geoff Hannah's most famous cabinets returned as the centre piece of the city's new regional gallery.

Flood watch issued for Qld, NSW

NSW State Emergency Service warns of heavy rain

Blood-stained clothes seized after axe attack

Lismore Court House.

A landlord has been charged over an axe attack on her tenant

School girl porn ring site goes offline

The Federal Government is yet to confirm if the site has been taken down or simply moved to different offshore servers.

Controversial Australian nude school girl rating site disappears.

Renowned cabinet maker at our gallery

SHARP END:

Renowned cabinet-maker talks at new exhibition

My Radio Heart: A love story re-designed

THEATRE RE-INVENTED: From left, Claudie Frock, Randolf Riemann, and Zac Mifsud will act in the re-working of My Radio Heart as part of the Norpa season.

A brand new version of the piece is back on stage this Saturday

Patti Smith confirmed for Bluesfest 2017

CONFIRMED: US singer Patti Smith performing in Switzerland last year.

Find out who else in the first line up announcement

Zumbo's Just Desserts serves up magical dishes

Gigi Falanga, left, joins hosts Adriano Zumbo and Rachel Khoo on the TV series Zumbo's Just Desserts.

ADRIANO Zumbo’s decadent creations have become prime-time viewing.

Sir Cliff Richard feels 'best' after sex abuse allegations

Sir Cliff Richard is 'back' to his best after sex abuse claims

Blac Chyna sued after car injured 2 women

Blac Chyna is being sued after her friend crashed into another car

Chris Hemsworth surprises kids at hospital as Thor

Chris Hemsworth and Tom Hiddleston surprised children at hospital

MOVIE REVIEW: War Dogs tells a fascinating true story

Miles Teller and Jonah Hill in a scene from the movie War Dogs.

DARKLY funny film examines the business side of the war on terror.

Marvel-ous: Thor actors visit sick kids at Lady Cilento

Stars of Thor: Ragnarok dropped in on patients at the hospital

ISLAND FOR SALE: Cheap Fraser Coast island drops price again

Suna Island in the Great Sandy Strait will be auctioned by Ray White Hervey Bay on Saturday morning.

This is the cheapest island you will find for sale in Australia

How a family home can fit on a 250sq m block

This is what you can build on 250m2.

Here's the floor plan of a home built on 250sq m

Investors eye Gladstone's $4m island with resort approval

UP FOR SALE: Turtle Island is on the market.

CHINESE and Sydney investors flag interest in Gladstone island.

Take a sneak peek at this $19m Whitsunday mansion

Mandalay House features a private helipad.

Mandalay is currently on the market with an asking price of $19m

Guess which Sunshine Coast suburb cracked the million dollar list?

This four-bedroom home at 26 McAnally Dr, Sunshine Beach was for sale for $7 million.

List of Australia's five most-expensive suburbs

Does it get any better than this? Check out this $2M home

LUXURY LIVING: The Coral Cove home built by Steve Coates Constructions that took out the best home over $2 million and the Wide Bay Burnett House of the Year at the Master Builders Wide Bay Burnett Housing and Construction Awards.

Wide Bay's best home is right on our doorstep