Environmental Justice Australia awards 2014

Our annual awards for outstanding contributions by volunteers.

Environmental justice award: Gayle Osborne

Wombat Forestcare Inc have been speaking up for the Wombat for many years and took the brave step of taking their concerns about the Bullarto Gold Mine to VCAT, with our help, earlier this year. Gayle is a considered, eloquent and determined advocate for the group, who themselves are very active and dedicated in protecting this important forest from the threats of inappropriate mining and logging. Gayle has a phenomenal capacity to contribute to the work of protecting the environment on so many levels, and is an inspiration to us, as her lawyers and the lawyers for Wombat Forestcare Inc. In addition, she is a great person to work with. Our advocacy work benefits significantly from her attention to detail and her dedication to the work of Wombat Forestcare Inc. The Wombat Forest is a place that provides crucial habitat for many native species, and all Victorians are lucky that we have such a dedicated group speaking up for the welfare of the wombat, for all of us.

Valuable volunteer award: John Le Feuvre

John was a two-week intern who then returned to be a day volunteer for a full year. Even better, he ran 10km to raise money for us in the marathon and made his girlfriend do it too! There are three amazing things we can say about John. First, that he has legal smarts. CEO Brendan once asked him to dig out and summarise all of the consultation provisions, review and enforcement provisions out of the Water Act and he produced an excellent version which we still refer to. That is one boring exercise which he did with excellent attention to detail, but he has done quality work for others as well. Secondly, John has very fast typing skills and excellent concentration – he sat through half a dozen workshop discussions and typed out detailed notes of everything that was said. Thirdly, he has commitment. With Bruce Lindsay, he drove all the way to Bairnsdale and back in one evening and got back at 2 am. Best of all, he is a really nice person and he went above and beyond in terms of helping out with our water project. The project could not have been done without him.

Pro bono contribution award: Lisa Nichols and Jennifer Trewhella

Lisa and Jennifer appeared at the Hazelwood Mine Fire Inquiry, representing our clients, Environment Victoria. Both barristers worked long hours, at short notice. Thanks to their commitment, we made a real difference to the final Inquiry Report. Jennifer also helped us represent the South Beach Wetlands and Landcare group at VCAT, in a case where we succeeding in protecting wetlands that are important habitat for migratory birds.

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