Paul King.
Paul King.

Oakey group slams plan to defund legal centre

THE organisation opposing the New Acland Coal Mine stage three in the courts has slammed the Liberal National Party’s plan to defund the Environmental Defenders Office if it is elected into government at the October 31 election.

Opposition Leader Deb Frecklington told the Rural Press Club this week the EDO’s support of the Oakey Coal Action Alliance’s legal action against the mine expansion was one of the reasons she would remove government funding from the organisation.

The EDO is one of 23 community legal centres across Queensland. It has received some government funding to operate.

“We will be defunding the Environmental Defenders Officer because it is very important that we don’t have the State Government working against itself,” Ms Frecklington said.

OCAA president Paul King said when the EDO first got involved in their case, the then Campbell Newman government had also cut off funding to the organisation.

“Our funding was substantially donated,” he said.

“It’s not accurate to say defunding the EDO would have done anything to Acland … as the vast majority of our funding comes from private donations.”

Mr King said OCAA’s case before the High Court would continue regardless of whether government funding was cut or not.

“All defunding the EDO would do would deny people like pensioners the ability to challenge developers who might be threatening their homes with development, or groups trying to protect wildlife,” he said.

“They’re the people that would be impacted.

“OCAA would carry on as we did and will do again.”

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