An important time for Australia’s environment

It’s an important time for Australia’s environment, with several recent developments a huge cause for concern.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has provided further warnings and evidence of the need to change course or risk devastating climate change.

Environmental regulation in Australia is the subject of major review with important consequences for an appropriate balance between development projects and nature conservation. And existing, hard-won achievements in areas like forestry, national parks and bio-diversity are being attacked and are at serious risk of being wound back.

I’m convinced that being open for business should not mean being closed to the need for a strong environment. Indeed, investment in de-carbonisation, renewable energy and public transport are vital for sustainable economic growth.

That’s why environmental sustainability is one of the Reichstein Foundation’s three priorities. There’s been some great news in that space over the last week.

We announced the winner of inaugural Jill Reichstein Award for Social Change. The award goes to the very impressive and dedicated Jonathan La Nauze, whose work in connection with river nations peoples including the Yorta Yorta over more than a decade at Friends of the Earth contributed to significant measures of protection for red gum forests on the River Murray. I wish Jonathan continued success at the Australian Conservation Foundation.

This week has also involved a lot of behind the scenes work to reach the point where we could announce a $20,000 matching grant in support of the re-launch of the Environment Defenders Office (Victoria) as Environmental Justice Australia, and their goal to become financially independent through crowdfunding.

The Australian Communities Foundation is also supporting EJA’s re-launch and evolution.

The Reichstein Foundation was one of the first in the early 1990s to support the work of the EDO, assisting with the community awareness and fundraising activities of the new organisation.

We welcome the EDO’s evolution into Environmental Justice Australia, with its commitment to work with local communities and to fix the failures in our legal system.

We are proud to support people with a passion for justice, the technical expertise and practical understanding needed to protect our environment.

 

Jill Reichstein OAM

Chair, Reichstein Foundation

Jill’s blog

Welcome to the new design for the Reichstein Foundation website.

The site has been substantially upgraded to provide you with more information about the work of our partners and to give you a more complete picture of the scope of our work and our passion for social change.

The Foundation works across three broad domains: reducing economic inequality; enhancing social justice through the law; and promoting greater environmental sustainability on the land and in our towns and cities.

We are modest in size but can invest with impact because of the support and hard work of our donors and people and organisations in the field, working every day to achieve policy change and to reduce the gaps between rich and poor in our society.

Our focus is on enabling people experiencing disadvantage or dispossession to become more in control of the issues that affect their lives.

Please use the website to explore the great work of Recognise to achieve constitutional recognition of Indigenous Australians; the Flemington Kensington Community Legal Centre to overcome racial discrimination and achieve more human rights focused policing in Victoria; the AED Legal Centre and People with Disability Australia to secure a better deal for the thousands of low paid workers in Australian Disability Enterprises; and the Whittlesea Interagency Taskforce on Gambling as it exposes the winners and losers in gambling and as it makes the case for significant law reform.

These are tough social issues and require long term commitment and solid partnerships with other trusts and foundations and private donors to achieve change. More than funding, we will invest in skills development; capacity building and other supports to ensure these and other organisations that we work with have the best chance to achieve their goals.

Through the original generosity of my father, Lance Reichstein, we have been given the opportunity to do some unconventional things, to be something of a maverick in the field of philanthropy. And I hope we do it with respect, generosity and sincerity.

It is an exciting time to be in philanthropy. Please use this resource and our frequent updates on Facebook and Twitter to learn, exchange, inform and create meaningful social change.

 

Jill Reichstein OAM

Chair, Reichstein Foundation