Environmental Justice Australia, formerly the Victorian Environment Defenders Office, welcomes today’s announcement by the federal ALP that it will restore funding to community environmental legal services across the country.
Environmental Justice Australia CEO Brendan Sydes said: “Environmental Defenders Offices in all states and territories and Environmental Justice Australia’s Community Environmental Legal Service fill an important role providing access to environmental legal services for the Australian community. Funding for these services was abruptly terminated by the Abbott Government in 2013. The ALP’s commitment to restoring significant ongoing funding is very welcome”.
“The strong personal commitment of Shadow Attorney General Mark Dreyfus QC to the invaluable work of community legal centers was very clear when he was Attorney General in 2013. We’re pleased that he continues to recognise the value of the work of community legal centres, including those providing accessible environmental legal services to the community.”
Environmental Justice Australia has a proud legacy as the former Environment Defenders Office Victoria, founded in 1991 to provide accessible legal services to the Victorian community in environmental matters.
With the withdrawal of Commonwealth government funding under Tony Abbott’s government, we relaunched as Environmental Justice Australia, a public interest legal practice supported by donations from the public. Our work across Australia includes supporting communities impacted by pollution from coal fired power stations, ground breaking climate litigation, and working with conservation groups and communities seeking better protection for Australia’s natural places and wildlife.
We’ve also continued to provide the support we can to community groups and individuals in Victoria seeking advice and legal support on environmental issues through our Community Environmental Legal Services program, but unfortunately limited funding means that we need to turn away many people asking for our help.
The restoration of Commonwealth government funding will allow us to provide more support to all Victorians, particularly those from rural, regional and disadvantaged communities. We look forward to working with our colleagues from EDOs across the country in the roll out of this package should the ALP form government following the election.