2022/2023 Planning Inquiry



ABOUT THE CITIZENS’ INQUIRY

The 2022/2023 Citizens’ Inquiry into Australia’s Planning Laws will examine if Australia’s planning laws are fit for purpose in the 21st century, given our communities and ecosystems face severe, detrimental impacts due to climate change, biodiversity loss and ecosystem degradation.

The inquiry will gather testimonies and evidence from all interested people including Indigenous and non-indigenous community members, civil society groups and Australian planning law experts.


HOW TO SHARE YOUR VIEWS WITH THE INQUIRY

An online portal will be available on this webpage in early October 2022 – and will remain open from October 2022 to July 2023.

The online portal will make it easy for people to do one or more of the following:

  • Submit written documents (e.g. a written report, together with relevant evidence) to share your views about Australia’s Planning Laws;
  • Submit pre-recorded video material to share your views about Australia’s Planning Laws;
  • Express interest in being invited to share verbal testimony (via zoom) in early 2023, to share your views about Australia’s Planning Laws. The APT will be holding public, online events in 2023, to enable people to share their views in front of the Citizens Inquiry Panel of Experts. More details will be available in early October 2022.

DRAFT TERMS OF REFERENCE

The Australian Peoples’ Tribunal (APT) for Community and Nature’s Rights will seek submissions and testimonies from all interested people, in order to assess if Australia’s Planning Laws are fit for purpose in the 21st Century, given our communities and ecosystems face severe, detrimental impacts due to climate change, biodiversity loss and ecosystem degradation. The APT Planning Inquiry will assess the current state and impact of Australia’s Planning Laws – across all Australian jurisdictions (Federal, State, Territory and Local Laws) – and assess if and how Australia’s Planning Laws should be changed and improved, to ensure healthy, flourishing ecosystems and a regenerative and livable future for all forms of life (human and non-human) across the continent now known as Australia.

Input from interested people is invited relating to any issues they deem important to the future of Australia’s Planning Laws, and in particular, regarding any of the following questions:

  1. Do Australia’s Planning Laws provide adequate protection to ensure the healthy regeneration and flourishing of Australia’s biodiversity and ecosystems?
    1. If so, what examples demonstrate that Australia’s Planning Laws provide adequate protection
    2. If not, what are the barriers and problems that exist, that prevent Austalia’s Planning Laws from ensuring the healthy regeneration and flourishing of Australia’s biodiversity and ecosystems? How could these laws be changed and improved?
    3. What examples exist, that show the impact of Australia’s Planning Laws on Australia’s ecosystems?
  2. Do Australia’s Planning Laws provide an appropriate and fair voice for local communities to protect and care for their local ecosystems?
    1. If so, what examples demonstrate that Australia’s Planning Laws provide an appropriate and fair voice for local communities to protect and care for their local ecosystems?
    2. If not, what are the barriers and problems that exist, that prevent Australia’s Planning Laws from ensuring the healthy regeneration and flourishing of Australia’s biodiversity and ecosystems? How could these laws be changed and improved?
  3. Do Australia’s Planning Laws reflect, protect or support Indigenous Peoples’ priorities and practices for Caring for Country?
    1. If so, what examples demonstrate that Australia’s Planning Laws reflect, protect or support Indigenous Peoples’ priorities and practices for Caring for Country?
    2. If not, what are the barriers and problems that exist, that prevent Australia’s Planning Laws from being able to reflect, protect or support Indigenous Peoples’ priorities and practices for Caring for Country? How could these laws be changed and improved?
  4. How can Australia’s Planning Laws be improved, to ensure that Australian people live within with their ecological limits and restore and regenerate the living world upon which they depend?

Launch Event – 27 September 2022

Please join us for the launch of the 2022/2023 Citizens’ Inquiry into Australia’s Planning Laws.

Across Australia, from Tasmania to the Kimberley, Indigenous and non-indigenous communities spend extensive amounts of their time challenging unwanted developments that threaten the places they love. Again and again, we see that the planning and development laws in our State, Territory and Federal jurisdictions rarely protect the environment, but continue to support development at all costs. Australian communities seem to be endlessly engaged in development approval processes, litigation and political advocacy in order to protect and care for their local ecosystems.

The Australian Peoples’ Tribunal (APT) for Community and Nature’s Rights is launching a special “Citizen’s Inquiry into Australia’s Planning Laws”, which will invite testimonies from people around Australia, about how planning laws are working (and not working) for them and their communities, and how we can transform our planning system to truly support local communities and the living world.


GUEST SPEAKERS:

The launch event will be hosted by Dr Michelle Maloney, National Convenor of the Australian Earth Laws Alliance (AELA), and Coordinator of the Australian Peoples’ Tribunal (APT) for Community and Nature’s Rights. Michelle will provide an introduction to the Citizen’s Inquiry, and share the Terms of Reference and website information that will enabled people to share their testimonies and ideas.

Our guest speakers are Sue Higginson, NSW Greens MP and Sheena Gillman from Birdlife Australia. Sue and Sheena will discuss their experiences with and insights into Australia’s planning law system, and why this Citizens’ Inquiry is needed, in order to provide a forum for communities to share their concerns and suggestions for the future of planning law in Australia.


ABOUT THE AUSTRALIAN PEOPLES’ TRIBUNAL

The Australian Peoples’ Tribunal (APT) for Community and Nature’s Rights is a unique forum for ecological and social justice in Australia. It has been created as a permanent civil society institution to enable people to share their concerns about the destruction of the environment, articulate their vision for ecological justice and law reform, and work collectively to develop their ideas for building a socially just, Earth centred society.

The APT aims to respond to situations where the current Australian legal system is perceived as failing to support the rights of nature to exist and thrive, and the obligations of communities to care for local ecosystems.

The APT holds Citizens’ Inquiries and hears Ecological Justice Cases, brought on behalf of flora, fauna, ecosystems, bioregions and local communities around Australia. As a ‘Citizens’ tribunal’ the APT is not a government endorsed activity nor do any of its activities, decisions or recommendations have the force of government-sanctioned law. The APT is independent, managed by volunteers and brings people together to speak out for justice. The APT provides an educative and culturally transformative forum in which to present a positive, alternative process to address environmental justice and Caring for Country.

The APT Panel is made up of First Nations Peoples, lawyers, community representatives and eminent scientists. It hears Inquiries and Cases,and makes recommendations for restorative justice, innovative law reform and socio-political reforms that will Care for Country and protect Community and Nature’s Rights.

To see previous work carried out by the APT, visit the APT website and read the 230 page report from the “Citizens’ Inquiry into the Health of the Barka River” – https://tribunal.org.au/hearings/2019-tribunal/

THIS LAUNCH EVENT IS BEING HELD IN ‘EARTH LAWS MONTH’ 2022


ABOUT EARTH LAWS MONTH

The Australian Earth Laws Alliance (AELA) is hosting a huge month of events throughout September – webinars, public lectures, workshops, virtual art exhibitions and more – to explore and celebrate our relationship with the living world. To find out about all our events, please visit: https://events.humanitix.com/tours/earthlaws-month

ABOUT AELA

The Australian Earth Laws Alliance is a not-for-profit organisation dedicated to creating Earth-centred systems change, by increasing the understanding and practical implementation of Earth-centred governance. Our programs include a focus on law, economics, education, ethics, Indigenous knowledge systems and the arts.

For more information, please contact – aela@earthlaws.org.au