Environment Victoria is appalled by the Abbott Government’s decision to terminate funding for the Environment Defenders Offices across Australia.
The Environment Defenders Offices (EDOs) are independent, not-for-profit community legal services, specialising in public interest environmental law. They provide legal help to individuals, community groups and conservation organisations protecting the environment, and work for better environmental laws. All federal government funding for the EDOs was cancelled yesterday afternoon. Federal funding comprised from 50 percent to nearly 100 percent of the funding for individual EDOs across Australia.
Environment Victoria CEO Kelly O’Shanassy said today:
“The Environment Defenders Offices act as nature’s lawyers. They provide legal defence for the many Australians concerned about what’s happening to our environment.
“The Environment Defenders Offices are the classic David versus Goliath, communities standing up against vested interests. This is a clear attempt by the Abbott Government to silence the voice of those communities. It demonstrates the Abbott Government’s utter contempt for those willing to speak up for mother nature.
“This is not a matter of government budget savings. If the Federal Government can give $10 billion to wealthy mining corporations every year in fossil fuel subsidies, they can spare some change for the Environment Defenders Offices.
“The Victorian Environment Defenders Office is crucial to environment protection in Victoria. They were integral to the recent court cases to protect East Gippsland forests, the Leadbeaters Possum and to stop a new coal plant from being built. They act on behalf of Environment Victoria and local environment groups to stand up for our environment.
“The Victorian EDO has stated that it will remain committed to being the environment’s legal team, and Environment Victoria will stand with them.
“Members of the public wishing to learn more about the Victoria EDO and to support their incredible work can go www.edovic.org.au to find out more or to donate.”
For media comment contact:
Kelly O’Shanassy, CEO Environment Victoria 0421 054 402
For more on the defunding on the EDO contact:
Brendan Sydes, CEO Victorian EDO 0439 355 747