Improve where you live

The NSW planning system exists to ensure that all new development integrates the different needs of community, economy and environment.  This section explores how we can all can get involved in the planning system, use our local knowledge, our sense of what we value, and our desire to improve our area.


The NSW Environmental Defenders’ Office (EDO NSW) is a community legal centre specialising in public interest environmental law.  They help people who want to protect the environment through law.  Their core functions are: legal advice and litigation; policy and law reform; and, public engagement and education.

The following Fact Sheets have been produced by EDO NSW and can be found on their website:

Fact Sheets – Have Your Say

There are a number of ways to have your say in decisions impacting the environment. There are also things that you should keep in mind when having your say.

EDO NSW Fact Sheets on this topic include:
1.  Access to Information
2.  Incorporating an Environmental Group
3.  Speaking Out in Public (includes information about avoiding defamation)
4.  Submissions, Letters and Petitions
5.  ICAC, the Ombudsmen and the Auditor-GeneralAccess to Information

1.  Access to Information
This EDO NSW Fact Sheet gives an overview of the state and national access to information systems. It discusses the importance of public access to information in promoting open, accountable government, details the processes that must be followed by people wishing to access government information, and introduces the bodies responsible for assisting the community to access this information.

Access_to_informationThis EDO NSW Fact Sheet will be useful for people who want to gain access to information held by the government at a local, State, and national level.
Download the EDO NSW Fact Sheet here.
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2.  Incorporating an Environmental Group
This EDO NSW Fact Sheet examines the purpose of incorporation, and gives an overview of the process of incorporating your environmental or community group.

Incorporating_an_Environmental_GroupThis EDO NSW Fact Sheet will be useful for people who are part of an environment or community group, particularly if you are considering taking legal action.
Download the EDO NSW Fact Sheet here.
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3.  Speaking Out in Public
This EDO NSW Fact Sheet discusses the legal consequences that may arise from speaking out in public. It discusses defamation law and injurious falsehood in relation to environmental campaigning, and gives an overview of what these things are and how you can avoid them.

Speaking_out_in_publicThis EDO NSW Fact Sheet will be useful for people who want to speak out in public to protect the environment, but want to avoid defaming someone unlawfully in the process.
Download the EDO NSW Fact Sheet here.
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4.  Submissions, Letters and Petitions
This EDO NSW Fact Sheet discusses the importance of engaging in environmental law and policy decision-making processes by writing submissions, letters and petitions. It offers tips on how to find out about chances to have your say, how to write effectively, and how to ensure that your contribution meets legal requirements to ensure it is eligible to be considered by decision-makers.

Submissions__Letters_and_PetitionsThis EDO NSW Fact Sheet will be useful for people who would like to have their say about decisions made by government, including development applications and changes to policies, as well as people who are looking for ideas on how to approach a decision-maker with a new idea.
Download the EDO NSW Fact Sheet here.
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5.  ICAC, the Ombudsman and the Auditors-General
This EDO NSW Fact Sheet examines how the public sector is held accountable for its actions. It discusses the mechanisms for dealing with corruption at local, state, and national government levels.

ICAC_Ombudsman_and_Auditor_GeneralThis EDO NSW Fact Sheet will be useful for people who are concerned that a public authority is engaging in unlawful or corrupt conduct.
Download the EDO NSW Fact Sheet here.
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