Cases heard at the 2016 Rights of Nature Tribunal Australia
The Tribunal on 22nd October 2016 heard preliminary information from citizens and Earth lawyers, and admitted the cases to the Australian Peoples’ Tribunal for further deliberation during early 2017. The cases heard by the Tribunal were:
Mardoowarra/Fitzroy River (Western Australia) vs the Federal and WA Governments
This case was presented by traditional custodians of the Mardoowarra/Fitzroy River and included claims that the River must have its legal rights recognised, in accordance with the traditional custodians’ ‘first laws’ which respect the rights of nature.
The Forests of Australia vs Federal and State Governments
This case was presented by First Nations Peoples and forest protectors from East Gippsland, Queensland, Western Australia and Northern NSW, challenging the legality of native logging across the continent.
The Great Artesian Basin vs Federal & State Governments and Coal Seam Gas Industry
This case presented evidence from First Nations Peoples, scientists, community members and civil society organisations about the contamination and depletion of Australia’s precious groundwater.
The Atmospheric Commons and Great Barrier Reef vs Australian Government and the Fossil Fuel Industry
This case challenged Australia’s inaction on climate change and featured First Nations Peoples, scientists and civil society climate advocates. The Tribunal received an update on the status of the Great Barrier Reef, which was the first case that Australia took to the International Rights of Nature Tribunal, in 2014. Concerns for the Reef have heightened in light of the recent scientific evidence demonstrating the devastating bleaching of the reef.