On Thursday 25 June 2020, we farewelled our wise and fearless CEO and leader, Brendan Sydes. For 15 years Brendan worked tirelessly to use the law to protect nature and wildlifeIt was by sheer coincidence that we farewelled Brendan 15 years to the day when he first joined EJA (then EDO Victoria). 

“A leader who was unafraid to take on anyone and anybody.” – Lane Crockett, EJA Board Chair

During his time as CEO Brendan assembled a group of brilliant minds and gave them the freedom to set about their work delivering environmental justice for nature and community. Without Brendan’s leadership, EJA could not have become the institute it has. Thanks to his work, Environmental Justice Australia is a force to reckoned with – using the power of the law to protect our forests, rivers and wildlife, clean up our air and water and secure a safe climate for our kids and grandkids. 

We can walk amongst the forests you’ve protected, we can breathe cleaner air because you fought the big logging and energy industries.” – Kelly O’Shanassy, CEO, ACF

Here’s are just some of the incredible wildlife Brendan helped protect in his time at EJA. 

Leadbeater’s Possum

In May 2020on behalf of Friends of Leadbeater’s Possum, we won a landmark Federal Court case to stop logging in areas of habitat for the critically endangered Leadbeaters Possum in Victoria, proving that VicForests had breached the law in its logging operations. It is estimated that there are only between 1000-1500 Leadbeater’s Possums left in the wild. 

Smoky Mouse

Our Supreme Court case, representing WOTCH has also halted logging in areas of habitat for the critically endangered Smoky Mouse, almost entirely wiped out in some areas by the Black Summer bushfires.  This gentle little mouse is edging closer to extinction every day.

Greater Glider

Our May 2020 Federal Court win also protected vital areas of habitat from logging for the vulnerable Greater Glider as did an injunction won in our Supreme Court case representing WOTCH. This fluffy gliding possum is nicknamed the ‘clumsy possum’ for its awkward gait. Much of its habitat has been destroyed by logging and bushfires but with better protections, it has a great chance at survival. 


“EJA is unrecognisable to what it was in 2005 – it has transformed into a powerhouse thanks to Brendan’s leadership.” – Danya Jacobs, Lawyer, EJA 

Sooty Owl

The majestic Sooty Owl is another beautiful creature whose habitat is currently protected from logging thanks to the hard work of Brendan, our Forests team and our client Wildlife of the Central Highlands (WOTCH). The owl is listed as vulnerable in Victoria –  it is vital that it’s rapidly diminishing habitat is protected.

Powerful Owl

Our Supreme Court case representing WOTCH against VicForests has kept the chainsaws out of a number of areas home to the threatened Powerful Owl in the Central Highlands while the case proceeds. The powerful owl is the largest of Australia’s owls. Much of this magnificent species’ habitat was destroyed in the Black Summer bushfires, pushing them closer to extinction. Efforts to protect its habitat are more important than ever. 



Long-footed Potoroo

EJA acted for community groups to prevent prescribed burning in East Gippsland of habitat for the endangered Long-footed PotorooThis small marsupial or “rat kangaroo” has little habitat left – protecting what remains is vital to its survival. 

Red-tailed black cockatoo

We represented Birdlife in the Planning Process for the Glenelg Planning Scheme Amendment C82 in a successful bid to protect south-eastern red-tailed black cockatoo habitat. The beautiful south-eastern red-tailed black-cockatoo is only found in south-east South Australia and south-west Victoria, where it occurs as a single population covering an area of approximately 18,000 square kilometres. Much of its habitat has been cleared, mostly for industrial scale agriculture. 

Latham’s Snipe

In 2014 the shy and enigmatic Latham’s Snipe travelled a long way from far eastern Russia and Japan to Victoria, only to find that its decades-old resting place in Port Fairy was under attack by a development projectRepresenting local birdlovers in the Victorian Civil & Administrative Tribunal (VCAT)we made sure developers were forced to put in place proper safeguards for the Latham’s Snipe. 

“Leadership is an understated quality, hard to do, Brendan has it in spades. He has an uncanny ability to bring together smart people to do the things they need to do, and that has paid off. With that, and an encyclopaedic knowledge of the law, Brendan transformed an office in to an institution.” – Bruce Lindsay, Lawyer, EJA.