Meet Laura Dreyfus

From child protection, to housing, to discrimination and now environmental justice, Laura is dedicated to helping communities.

Based in Wurundjeri country, Laura works in EJA’s ecosystems team.

She works closely with communities in the Northern Territory trying to protect some of the last remaining intact savanna woodlands from land clearing and industrial agriculture.

Before joining EJA, Laura worked as a civil lawyer at the North Australian Aboriginal Justice Agency (NAAJA) in Katherine — developing a deep love for the NT and its incredible and unique nature.

Why did you decide to become a lawyer?

I didn’t always want to be a lawyer, but as I became more involved in advocacy and community groups, I realised that the legal system and courts are a really effective tool for change. I wanted to learn more about systems of governance and decision-making processes so I could meaningfully contribute to communities working towards systemic change.

What drew you to Environmental Justice Australia?

Before coming to EJA, I spent a number of years at the Aboriginal legal service in Katherine, focussing on housing, social security, discrimination and child protection. Although challenging, I learnt a lot about government processes, Aboriginal and Australian history, and I also developed a deep love of the Northern Territory and its incredible nature.

The worsening climate and extinction crisis, (which felt very real in the long period of 40-degree heat of Katherine) and seeing the effects of climate change disproportionately impact a lot of my clients in the NT – I think is what propelled me into EJA’s world.

I wanted to shift to broader strategic work, and had followed EJA’s work for a long time. When the opportunity came up to work in the ecosystems team on NT matters, it felt (and continues to feel) like a really wonderful fit.

I love working for an organisation that has a big strategic vision, with people who think about how to do things better, and who are also just so lovely to each other.

I also am extremely lucky to work with passionate, knowledgeable and brave clients that I’m always learning new things from.

I’m a lawyer in the ecosystems team.

I work with communities in the NT trying to protect some of the last remaining intact savannas from land clearing and industrial agriculture. Land clearing has increased dramatically over the past few years in the NT, and broadscale cotton cropping is planned and, in some places, has already commenced.

Despite Australia having one of the highest extinction rates globally, we continue to destroy habitat for threatened species and damage ecosystems. Our team works with individuals and communities to hold governments and corporations to account through strategic litigation.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, I love being in nature – camping, hiking, swimming. I feel energised at the beach and particularly love icy swims in winter.

Laura Dreyfus taking an icy plunge during winter at Lorne
Feature image child at sunset

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