We are creating a world where our laws help people and nature thrive. Where communities are empowered with legal and advocacy tools to protect their health and the places and wildlife they love. Where strong laws and independent governance resist the influence of big polluters. Where the court room holds government and business to account. A world where our system is fair and just for all.
Who we are
Environmental Justice Australia is a leading public interest legal organisation.
Our lawyers act on behalf of people and community organisations to safeguard health; to protect magnificent forests, rivers and wildlife; and to tackle climate change. We partner with communities and other social justice organisations because we are stronger together.
Using innovative approaches, we find the best legal solutions to environmental issues. Our team works inside and outside the courtroom to make the system fair and just for all. We work on issues and in areas of Australia where we can have the most impact.
We are non-profit, donor-funded, supporter-driven and reliant on backing from the community.
What we do
We run landmark court cases to hold power to account
- We use strategic legal cases to hold business and government to account when they fail to protect our air, water and wildlife.
- We use the power of the law to achieve justice for people and nature in the courtroom.
We innovate and collaborate to have the most impact
- We combine legal expertise with the strength of community partnerships to have the most impact.
- We empower communities with the legal and advocacy tools they need to protect their health and the places and wildlife we love.
We advocate for a system that is fair and just for all
- We test the boundaries of existing laws and advocate for law reform, policy change and solutions that make the system fair and just for all.
- We conduct groundbreaking research, build coalitions and influence public debate to drive systemic change.
Why we do what we do
We are living in a pollution and extinction crisis.
The laws designed to protect the unique places and the wildlife we love are failing. And so are the governments and agencies set up to oversee them.
Communities who live near poorly regulated coal-fired power stations suffer serious health impacts from exposure to air pollution.
Ministers, influenced by the big polluter lobby, use weak laws to approve coal and gas projects that pollute our air, water and land and damage our climate.
Legal loopholes and bad decisions allow our magnificent old-growth forests to be cut down.
National protections for our threatened wildlife can’t stop mining, logging and land-clearing from pushing them to the brink.
Corruption and serious failures of government have left our life-giving rivers drying up and choking on pollution.
It’s clear nature and communities need a legal team that can work inside and outside the courtroom to hold government and business to account and drive systemic change.
Communities empowered with legal representation and tools for advocacy, can take on government and business to win justice for the places and wildlife they love.
Stronger laws and independent institutions can protect our forests, rivers and wildlife and systemic change can make our system fair and just for all.
With a new generation of environment laws, innovative solutions and empowered communities, people and nature can thrive.
Environmental Justice Australia was formerly the Environment Defenders Office Victoria and part of a National Network of EDOs in each state and territory.
But in 2014, the Abbott Government cut all funding to EDOs around the country.
We reached out to the community to help fund our organisation so we could keep fighting for environmental justice and the response was overwhelming. We couldn’t do the critical work we do now without the support of incredible people and philanthropists.
We also took the opportunity to rethink the way we work and recognised that the law can be both a powerful enabler of positive social change – and a powerful blocker.
We saw a need for a new type of organisation working inside and outside the courtroom to win justice for communities and nature. An organisation employing innovative tactics and solutions to drive systemic change.
So, we reimagined ourselves as Environmental Justice Australia – an innovative public interest legal organisation, dedicated to using our legal expertise to fight for environmental justice on issues and in areas of Australia where we can be the most impactful.
Since then, we have pioneered world–first climate risk litigation, become national leaders in protecting communities from the health impacts of coal pollution, been founding members of the Places You Love Alliance for national law reform, exposed Adani’s shocking international track record of not complying with the law, run landmark forests litigation, worked closely with First Nations Australians to achieve water rights and care for our rivers, and so much more.
And, of course, we have also carried forward the proud legacy of EDO Victoria, providing vital legal support to the Victorian community and environment groups seeking environmental justice.