07 October, 2016
Most political parties running candidates in the ACT election agree the next ACT Government should save the Environmental Defenders’ Office (EDO) ACT from closure and provide it with core funding.
“7 of 11 parties canvassing candidates in the ACT election agree the next ACT Government should provide $140,000 pa to allow the EDO to continue to provide free legal advice on environmental and planning matters,” EDO ACT CEO Camilla Taylor said.
EDO ACT asked questions of all registered parties running candidates in the October 2016 ACT election about the survival of the EDO and other priority environmental issues. “The ACT Greens were the first to commit and the the ACT ALP’s recent decision to reverse its previous position and, if elected, provide the funding needed to keep the EDO afloat is most welcome,” Ms Taylor said.
"The ACT Liberals have told the EDO it is 'not possible for us to responsibly commit funding for the EDO'. This is despite the Liberals recognising the "EDO has historically played an important role in the ACT in actively engaging in policy and law reform, and providing legal advice and assistance on environmental law matters'.
’We urge Liberal Leader Jeremy Hanson to urgently reconsider the party's response ahead of the October 15 poll. The EDO needs core funding to keep its doors open. Really all we have asked for is the equivalent to one ACT public servant."
Federal cuts to community legal aid threaten to close the EDO ACT later this year and its future is untenable if no other source of funding emerges.
“Strong support for the EDO within the community has become obvious over the past few weeks as EDO Board member and supporters met with locals at weekend election stalls,” Ms Taylor said.
“ACT voters value the EDO’s advice, the ACT Environmental Law Handbook and the fact sheets it publishes. Voters have told us they want to see the EDO continue to act as an informed and independent community voice on environment and planning issues and law reform.”
“With more and more questions arising about the necessity for transparency in decision-making, it’s important to note 6 of parties have told us they support the creation of an independent Environmental Protection Authority or agency with similar powers,” Ms Taylor said.
Contact: Camilla Taylor; firstname.lastname@example.org; 62433460
About EDO ACT
The Environmental Defenders' Office (ACT) is an independent non-profit community legal centre specialising in public-interest environmental law established in 1995.
EDO ACT works to provide access to education for the community with respect to their rights under the environmental laws of the ACT and the Federal Government. We advise on environmental and planning law and aim to increase public awareness of environmental laws and remedies.
EDO provides access to justice to anyone in the community who requires free advice, education and support for environmental legal matters. EDO also advocates for better standards in government law and policy.