The EDO is seeking suitably qualified people, a collective of people or an organisation to assist in the program design of our First Nations and Indigenous Peoples Program (FNIPP). The work will occur via a short-medium term (3-6 month) consultancy arrangement. 

Location: Can be completed from anywhere in Australia. 

Process: By tender open 16 September 2020 – 9 October 2020.

Potential suppliers are asked to supply an expression of interest addressed to the CEO addressing the opportunity and the reasons they are interested and well suited to undertake the consultancy. Potential suppliers will be assessed by the EDO against the criteria outlined in the “you are” section of this invitation to tender. 

Potential suppliers are encouraged to arrange a time to speak with the CEO and Chair of our FNIPP working group by contacting EA to the CEO [email protected].  

We are: 

The Environmental Defenders Office (EDO) is an environmental law practice operating in the Australia Pacific Region. Our vision is a world where nature thrives. We seek to achieve that vision by providing legal solutions for peoples, nature and our climate. We are the largest organisation of our kind in the Region. The EDO has a presence in every capital city in Australia and a network of clients and partner organisations throughout the Pacific. In late 2019, the eight pre-existing EDOs merged to form a single regional EDO to provide a formidable public interest law presence in the environmental space in the region. 

In May this year, the newly established National EDO Board endorsed a new national strategy for 2020-2023. Working with, and on behalf of First Nations and Indigenous Peoples, was seen by both staff and directors to be a key aspect of the direction the organisation wants to take as a newly formed national organisation. Goal 3 of our Strategic Plan recognised this ambition and provides the organisation will: Support First Nations and Indigenous Peoples to protect their Country/Land, and centre understanding of and respect for their perspectives in our work. 

Our commitment to diversity: 

The EDO is an newly formed organisation, but one with a 30 year legacy of helping people to use the law to protect the environment. We are a welcoming organisation committed to building an organisation where everyone in our EDO community feels they belong. This encompasses both who we are and how we act. EDO believes in embodying the principles of justice, equity, diversity and inclusion (JEDI) and understands that environmental justice in inextricably linked to those principles. EDO is committed to the journey and ongoing commitment required to embody those principles.  

We’re looking for a strategic thinker, where developing the right case for support is like their second nature and who can deliver effective results for a team with an ambitious budget. You will need to be enthusiastic, flexible and have the maturity to work autonomously and will most likely be working on multiple competing projects at once.

At a personal level you will have a good work ethic, resilience, tenacity and compassion. You will also be comfortable collaborating.

Our Strategy – First Nations and Indigenous Peoples:

Strategic Goal: To Support First Nations and Indigenous Peoples to protect their Country/Land, and centre understanding of and respect for their perspectives in our work (the Strategic Goal).  

The above high-level goal is supported by three strategic objectives:  

  1. To understand the Region’s true history, First Nations’ sovereignty and the central role First Nations and Indigenous peoples play in the protection and restoration of nature.  
  2. To ensure staff have the necessary skills to assist and empower First Nations and Indigenous peoples to protect their Country/Land.  
  3. To establish trusting relationships and long-term partnerships with First Nations and Indigenous peoples and organisations.    

EDO is regionally focused, and our International Program also works in the Pacific, partnering with local organizations to advocate for the rights of local and Indigenous communities in the environmental context.  In this regard, the Program is intended to also contribute to and enhance the work that we do there.  We have used First Nations to refer to the Australian context.     

To deliver on the Strategic Goal, EDO is developing a new First Nations and Indigenous Peoples Program (“the Program”). The Program is intended to lead within the organisation on the achievement of the Strategic Goal.  The Program will ultimately be led by a Director role, which will sit in the organisation’s Executive Team, and will be a First Nations identified position, but the Program itself will be both Australia and Pacific focused.    

The opportunity:

EDO seeks to engage a consultant(s) to play the crucial and exciting role of leading – along with our internal  working group – the development of the Program’s design and to helping to put it on a course that ensures it is established in an appropriate way and such a way as to help ensure the Program’s ultimate success.  

The successful candidate(s) (we are open to two people working collaboratively on the project) will primarily be charged with preparing a comprehensive report on the design of the Program, allowing the EDO to make the best possible decisions we can in establishing the Program (the Report). The successful candidate will also help to advise the EDO on interim steps we can take as an organisation to deliver on Goal 3 of the Strategic Plan. 

The Report will – among other things – provide: 

  • A review and gap analysis of existing EDO polices, procedures and practices and existing staff/institutional skills and capacity relating to engaging and working with First Nations and Indigenous Peoples, and identification of new policies, procedures and practices and skills and capacity that are a priority for development. 
  • The identification and analysis of different models” for the overarching design of the Program and inclusion in the Program to guide the EDO in its delivery of the Strategic Plan and guide the position description for the newly established Director, First Nations and Indigenous Peoples Program. 
  • A framework setting out options to evaluate the success of the Program.   
  • Analysis of the resourcing needs of the Program.  
  • A recruitment plan for the Director, First Nations and Indigenous Peoples Program.  

A detailed scope of work will be provided to candidates expressing an interest in the role. The consultant will report to the Chief Executive Officer. 

Our internal working group:

To support the development of this Program, EDO has created a First Nations and Indigenous Peoples’ Working Group (“the Working Group”), which is chaired by Fleur Ramsay.  Fleur is Samoan, an experienced litigator with expertise in Indigenous rights and Special Counsel in our International Program.  The Working Group also includes Daniel Thompson who is Gamilaroi and works with EDO as a Paralegal in the Citizens Representation Program while he is undertaking his law degree at UNSW.   The Working Group also currently comprises:  

  • David Morris – CEO  
  • Nicole Sommer – Director of Environmental Justice  
  • Lauren Butterly – Senior Solicitor  
  • Gillian Duggin – Managing Lawyer, Darwin Office  
  • Kirstiana Ward – Managing Lawyer, Cairns Office  

The Working Group will support the work of the consultant(s) throughout the project.  

You are: 

This is a Program and Organisational Building Program. We are building a key component of our organisation’s future. As such, we are looking for an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander (or group) with: 

  • Creativity, vision and a passion for the work of the EDO.  
  • The ability to think clearly and originally about the opportunity for the EDO in designing the Program. 
  • Expertise in best practice engagement with First Nations people/communities/organisations 
  • Strong analytical skills to gather and organise information and resources, compile and prepare data, and synthesize knowledge from diverse sources of information.  
  • A strong understanding the complexities of an environmental law organisation seeking to establish a First Nations and Indigenous Peoples Program – and an understanding of, or ability to research and analyse – the dynamics where lawyers have successfully supported communities in environmental struggles. 
  • Demonstrated ability to work with a diverse range of stakeholders. 
  • Working knowledge of international law norms and rights of Indigenous peoples. (Desirable
  • Working knowledge of Australia’s environmental and cultural heritage legal frameworks. (Desirable
  • Legal, social-legal or multidisciplinary experience.  


Expected scope and duration of assignment:  

EDO estimates that the consultant will be required for a minimum of 45 days in 2020/21 Financial Year. The ultimate duration of the Project and timelines for output delivery will be determined by agreement between the EDO and the consultant(s). 

Fees: By agreement with the EDO.