Greens MP and environment spokesperson Cate Faehrmann has written to
Premier O'Farrell urging him to stand up to elements within his party
who have joined forces with the Shooters and Fishers Party to launch
an all-out attack on the Environmental Defenders Office of NSW (EDO).
The Attorney-General is considering removing funding for the
Environmental Defenders Officer of NSW (EDO) in a review of legal
assistance services. This is happening at the same time as their
funding from the Public Purpose Fund of the Law Society of NSW has
"The EDO is being unfairly targeted as part of an anti-environment
crusade by some members of the Coalition and the Shooters and Fishers
Party, heavily backed up by the NSW Minerals Council," said Ms
"The EDO is a vital resource for the community providing expert legal
advice on environmental and planning matters.
"Operating for 25 years in the public interest, the EDO is a much
loved institution that has always received bipartisan political
support. It is widely supported and deeply respected by the legal
fraternity and many will take a dim view of a Government that
decapitates such a popular public legal service.
"Without the EDO there is no one else for individuals and community
groups to turn to for affordable, specialist advice when confronted by
proposals that will have a huge impact on their properties,
neighbourhoods and local environments.
"This essential public interest legal service has been unduly
criticised for providing a solicitor to accompany a client to a
meeting discussing the coal seam gas industry. The solicitor's
attendance was entirely appropriate and within the normal bounds of
lawyer and client relationships. The EDO emphatically denies any
"The EDO is an independent legal service backed by scientists and
education specialists. It is not and never has been politically
"I have written to Premier O'Farrell and the Attorney-General to ask
that they affirm the Government's political and financial support for
the EDO and the vital service that they provide to the NSW community,"
said Ms Faehrmann.
Cate Faehrmann served as a director on the Board of the EDO from 2006 – 2010.