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Friday Analysis: Pressure point for the Environmental Defenders Office

Australians Senator Jacinta Nampijinpa Price

Pressure is piling up for the Federal Government to cut the nearly $10m funding of the Environmental Defenders Office.

The Federal Opposition has been joined by Australian Energy Producers and the Australian Forest Products Association in calling for action against the EDO.

The Northern Territory Chief Minister Eva Lawler has already said her government would be reviewing its $100,000-a-year funding arrangement.

The call for defunding follow the EDO losing an action brought by the North East Forest Alliance  against the Commonwealth of Australia and the State of NSW with its lawyers arguing that the RFA should not have been renewed without assessment and approval under federal environment laws, and a landmark case against Santos’s $5.3bn Barossa LNG project, with claims the company’s proposed 262km pipeline would cause irreparable damage to First Nations people and their sites.

In the second case, a Federal Court judge described a “cultural mapping” exercise and other key components of the Environmental Defenders Office case against the Santos Barossa gas project as “so lacking in integrity that no weight can be placed on them” and tainted by “confection” and “construction” of evidence.

Opposition spokeswoman for Indigenous Australians Senator Jacinta Nampijinpa Price in The Australian today wrote that “the absurdity of the Albanese government funding an organisation hellbent on undermining government processes beggars’ belief and points to a government that is both out of touch and out of its depth”.

“That Anthony Albanese and Environment and Water Minister Tanya Plibersek would continue to allow taxpayer money to be wasted like this is simply astonishing. It begs the question: is this all just a thinly veiled attempt to, as Queensland senator Susan McDonald puts it, ‘secure votes in inner-city seats under threat from the Greens’?”

Very well put.

All it seems Tanya Plibersek can say to the EDO is ‘I hope they take notice’.

That might not be enough.