The Environmental Defenders Office
of Northern Queensland (EDO NQ)
Situated strategically right in the centre of the fabulous Great Barrier Reef, the Environmental Defenders Office of Northern Queensland is a non-profit, non-government community legal centre specializing in public interest environmental law. We provide free environmental law advice and advocacy to members of the public about public interest environmental law issues.
Our web site carries a wealth of information about our environmental protection services, and about environmental law in Queensland. It provides fact sheets that summarise and explain planning and environmental law, rules relating to Northern Queensland's World Heritage Areas, and much other useful information relating to this spectacular part of Australia. You can join us to show your support for our work.CLICK HERE TO JOIN EDO NQ
EDO NQ AGM & 20TH BIRTHDAY - FRIDAY 14 OCTOBER 2016
Many thanks to those members who came along and especially to those who became new members on the night, your support is greatly appreciated.
Mandy Shircore - JCU Law School (left), EDO NQ Management Committee President Mark Buttrose (centre) and Tania Heber - EDO NQ Principal Solicitor (right) and our 20th Birthday cake.
More information on our new committee on our Management Committee webpage
HOW TO FIND US:
The Environmental Defenders Office of Northern Queensland is located in an office at the front of the Serbian Cultural and Information Centre in the Greenslopes Street Cultural Precinct, just up the street from the Cairns and Far North Environment Centre (CAFNEC) at Cominos House. There’s lots of off-street parking and easy wheelchair access, both missing at our previous location, so please feel free to come and visit us if you’re in the area.
OUR LOCATION IS:
Room 3, Serbian Cultural & Information Centre,
67 Greenslopes Street Cairns QLD 4870 AUSTRALIA
OUR CONTACT DETAILS ARE:
Environmental Defenders Office of Northern Queensland,
PO Box 656N, North Cairns QLD 4870
FACEBOOK: Environmental Defenders Office of Northern Queensland
TELEPHONE: +61 7 4028 3739
A NEW PETITION FOR A CAIRNS CBD PARKLAND AND FLYING FOX NURSERY AND ROOSTING AREA:
The felling of 19 large historic trees on both sides of the Novotel resort highlighted the urgent necessity for establishing this parkland. A recent approval for two thirteen storey hotel and residential towers permits the removal of the last roost trees on the block known as 163 Abbott Street. These trees are currently (January 2017) fully occupied by spectacled flying foxes, including dependent young. If this development is allowed to proceed it would greatly incease the crowding in the remaining roost trees in the CBD camp and almost certainly fragment it to much less suitable locations. We need to give the spectacled flying foxes a secure centralised location that will prevent them from scattering all over the CBD in search of more roosting trees and potentially into more conflict situations.
There is an urgent e-petition on the Queensland parkliament website that Rob Pyne, MP for Cairns, will present to the Queensland parliament at its first sitting week in February 2017. Queensland residents can sign the petition at: SAVE THE CAIRNS CBD FLYING FOX CAMP
• The spectacled flying fox, a listed vulnerable species under the Federal Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act (EPBC Act), has had a nationally recognised and long-established camp site/nursery colony in the heritage listed trees around the Cairns library and on vacant land adjacent to the Novotel Oasis resort.
• This camp may contain as much as 10% of the total Australian population of this species which has a significant role e a pollinator and seed disperser in maintaining the biodiversity of the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area.
• In March 2013 the lawyers representing the Novotel Oasis Resort sent a letter to Council complaining that the vacant land between the Novotel Oasis resort was being devalued and difficult to sell because of the presence of flying foxes. They demanded that Council act to remedy the situation and threatened legal action if they didn’t.
• Council subsequently applied in August 2013 for approval to trim roost trees on the library and Novotel sites under the EPBC Act and approval was granted in September 2013.
• Tree lopping activities carried out by Council in April/May 2014 exceeded the permissible limits set under the Heritage Act and Council has been issued with infringement notices totalling $14,000. The contractor, Garden Friendly Mulchers, were also issued with $11,000 of infringement notices for carrying out the offending works.
• These tree removal and lopping activities also reduced the carrying capacity of the well-established roost trees at the library and adjacent to the Oasis resort. This has resulted in the colony dispersing into additional trees, even palm trees, in front of the Oasis resort in Lake Street, along Florence Street, Abbott Street and even in Shield Street.
• The creation of a new CBD parkland would provide this flying fox colony a secure camp area for breeding and roosting and prevent the need for them to disperse over a wider area. This would also provide opportunities for tourist operators to showcase the roosting flying foxes and evening flyout to tourists visiting the area for its world heritage listed flora, fauna and environmental values.
HISTORIC FLORA AND FAUNA PRINTS FOR SALE.
You can see our collection of historic prints in a Flickr Album at: EDO NQ Historic Prints
The collection includes some exquisite prints from three different French expeditions to the region between the 1790s and late 1820s.
You can purchase any of these prints still unsold by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Keep up to date on environmental law matters by visiting our Facebook page, which has regular feeds relating to environmental law and environmental issues.
Learn about our campaign to achieve the granting of legal personality for the Great Barrier Reef here.
If you would like to support the EDO NQ, and in particular our test cases, we’d encourage you to (a) donate (please consider a regular donation), (b) become a member, (c) make arrangements for a bequest, and/or (d) volunteer.
Please help now by donating via GiveNow:
GiveNow Progress: $29,225 raised so far.
TANIA HEBER, EDO NQ'S NEW PRINCIPAL SOLICITOR
Thanks to the restoration of some State funding EDO-NQ has been able to employ a Principal Solicitor, Tania Heber, for three days a week. We can now once again assist the community of Northern Queensland with matters relating to public interest Environmental Law. Tania has responsibility for the organisation’s work in planning and environment litigation, legal advice, law reform and community legal education. Tania is ably supported by our Office Manager, Marie Short, working two days a week.
Tania has practiced as a planning and environment lawyer since the mid 1990s largely in Victoria. She has acted for local, State and Federal government departments and agencies in private practice, the Victorian Government Solicitor’s Office and, more recently, in-house with Victoria’s planning department. Since moving to far north Queensland in 2014, Tania has tutored law students at James Cook University in Cairns.
Through the auspices of the Public Interest Law Clearing House, Tania took on cases for community groups and not for profit organisations, including the Australian Koala Foundation, forest friends groups and an ornithologist specialising in Red-Tailed Black Cockatoos, to help them oppose proposed developments endangering the habitat of protected species of flora and fauna.
“Whilst resources to defend the environment may be limited, our ability to form partnerships with the legal fraternity, students, academics, individuals and community groups will make the legal defence of the environment and progressive law reform possible” said Tania.
Tania has a degree in Arts from Monash University in Melbourne and a law degree from Charles Darwin University in Darwin.
SUPPORT RESTORATION OF QUEENSLAND’S LAND CLEARING LAWS
We almost had adequate controls restored on land clearing in Queensland, unfortunately the legislation failed due to the two Katter Party MPs and Billy Gordon, MP for Cook, opposing it. This was despite strong action from the community and hundreds of submissions in support of the legislation. This land clearing management legislation was introduced to Parliament in March by the Labor Government, in the form of the Vegetation Management (Reinstatement) and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2016, the Bill failed to pass on 18 August 2016. If passed it would have restored much of the land clearing laws that were in effect in 2012, and improve control of broadscale clearing of remnant vegetation. This would have been hugely positive in protecting Queensland's wildlife, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and protecting the reef.
The government is exploring other ways of restoring land clearing controls, which are required under commitments made to the World Heritage Committee to avoid the Great Barrier Reef being listed as "at risk".
WHAT YOU CAN DO:
Meet with your MP, especially if they’re one of the following cross-bench MPs, and express your support for legislation to restore effective land clearing controls. You might also like to call their office or send a handwritten letter.
Cook Electorate: Billy Gordon - Email, Phone (07) 4223 1100,
Postal: Shop11, Post Office Centre, 94 Byrnes St, Mareeba QLD 4880
Mount Isa Electorate: Robbie Katter – Email, Phone (07) 4730 1100,
Postal: PO Box 1968, Mt Isa, QLD 4825
Dalrymple Electorate: Shane Knuth – Email, Phone (07) 4235 7100,
Postal: PO Box 1667, Atherton, QLD 4883
Cairns Electorate: Rob Pyne –Email, Phone (07) 4229 0110,
Postal: PO Box 5241, Cairns, QLD 4870
Nicklin Electorate: Peter Wellington - Email, Phone (07) 5406 4100
Postal: PO Box 265, Nambour, Qld 4560
It is vital that we show broad public support for any proposed legislation to those who have the power to make a decision for the better. Such legislation is a vital step towards reining in the out of control clearing happening across the State.