Planning Inquiry Launch Event

Launch Event – 27 September 2022

The recording of the launch event will be posted here soon!

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.


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.


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” –



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:


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 –