What is right and what is wrong and who gets to decide?
Is it ok to build a new coal mine that will damage the environment if it brings jobs and prosperity? What if a proposed development that will provide houses for an expanding population is opposed by a community group trying to protect habitat for koalas?
There are always two sides to every argument and most often there are many different views on an issue. Yet any rational person will accept that all of the arguments need to be heard and, especially when they are legal matters, that both sides are able to access adequate support and legal representation. Indeed, access to justice is the cornerstone of a fair and just society like ours.
As ordinary people try to participate in the legal system, they are often overwhelmed and struggle to have their voices heard. So when I see an individual, community group or farmer confronted by a big company and their well-resourced legal team, I know exactly how I feel, and maybe you can guess!
Fortunately there is a solution. For over 20 years I’ve worked at the Environmental Defenders Office Queensland, the one place that anyone in the community can contact to seek advice and support for environmental legal matters. We help ordinary people gain access to justice and assist with their legal representation in court.
Almost every day we receive emails and calls from people seeking advice and support. Every Tuesday and Thursday evening from 5.00pm to 7.30pm we staff our community legal advice line and the phone rings constantly. Through providing this essential service we’ve helped thousands of individuals and community organisations and yet, this very service is now in jeopardy.
The Environmental Defenders Office Queensland has had all of our State and Federal government funding cut without warning and if we are to continue to provide access to justice, we need your support.
If I can’t raise a minimum of $120,000 by 30 June, I’ll need to make tough decisions on the continuation of our access to justice services for environmental legal matters.
Over the past six months we’ve managed to keep things going, but this cannot continue beyond early July, when the decision on the future of our access to justice services needs to happen.
Will you help the Environmental Defenders Office continue to provide access to justice.
Please, will you make a tax-deductible donation today to keep the Environmental Defenders Office alive?
Right now the Queensland mining industry is booming at an unprecedented rate with over 30 proposed coal mines, 30,000 proposed coal seam gas wells and new and expanded ports on the Great Barrier Reef. Uranium mining is also now permitted.
Our support helps landholders, individuals and community groups to understand and act on their legal rights. This in turn protects the natural environment and communities against the impacts of major coal mines and massive coastal developments.
We’re committed to keep providing these services for free in the interests of access to justice; however, without government funding our hands are severely tied. Your support is essential if we are to provide this vital legal service which is relied on by individuals and communities.
To keep operating, we need funds for staff wages, rent, internet, and telephone - the basic essential costs to keep the access to justice service alive. This will ensure we can keep the community legal advice line operational, provide our free legal information seminars and advocate on urgent law reform such as protecting long-standing community legal rights to object to proposed mines, and much more.
Please, will you make a tax-deductible donation today to help the Environmental Defenders Office continue to provide access to justice.
In the next 12 months, will big business and mining interests have their way and go unchallenged? In this David and Goliath struggle, will we hear but a squeak from the little guy?
Please join me in supporting access to justice by making a tax-deductible donation to this special end of financial year appeal.
Environmental Defenders Office (Qld) Inc
PS. This really is a time of big decisions. Before 30 June, please choose to support the Environmental Defenders Office Queensland in our mission to provide access to justice by making a donation online today.