The Environmental Defenders’ Office (ACT) came close to closing its doors for good this year. Since the Federal government terminated funding to all EDOs across Australia in 2013, the EDO ACT has managed to provide its essential services in a tight fiscal environment. In other news, the EDO has been involved in the Ginninderra Falls development and the Hume Waste Plastics to Fuel proposal. The ACT Government has released a draft plan for the management of Eastern Grey Kangaroos and announced the ACT Healthy Waterways Project. See the Newsletter for more information.
This newsletter highlights the EDO's recent efforts to oppose the ACT Government's Environmental Offsets Policy and the Commonwealth/ACT Approval Bilateral Agreement for the "one-stop-shop" for environmental approvals. The EDO opposes offsets and has provided a submission to the ACT Government advising the best way to move forward whilst protecting the interests of the environment. The EDO also opposes the Bilateral Agreement because it may promote high risk or unsustainable development. See the law reform section of this newsletter for more information.
Much has happened in the environmental law space since the autumn update. The repeal of the carbon price has dominated recent changes to environmental policy at a Federal level. The impacts of this move have repercussions on both domestic and international policies, at a time when a new global treaty on climate change action is being negotiated.
This newsletter also comes on the heels of the release by the Climate Change Authority of its final report and recommendations. The report found that Australia’s current emission reduction target is inadequate.
The Commonwealth Attorney-General’s department has notified each Environmental Defenders’ Office across the country that their funding has been cut, effective immediately, with no claims on the private profession to step up for the environment, and pre-empting the Productivity Commission’s report on access to justice.