Environmental defenders funding cuts favour Goliath

A former judge on SA’s Environment, Resources and Development Court, Christine Trenorden, has criticised the Commonwealth Government’s decision to cut $10 million in funding for non-profit environmental lawyers: “When residents from the tiny town of Bulga won a three-year court battle to stop Rio Tinto expanding an open-cut coalmine beside them, it was hailed as a victory for David over Goliath. Yet the type of legal aid that helped those Hunter Valley residents last year may soon be much less widely available.” She says Environmental Defenders Offices are an important counterbalance to well-resourced governments and corporations in disputes about the impact of projects on local environments.