Better Laws for a Better Planet Symposium


Video address from the IUCN World Commission on Environmental Law by Justice Antonio Benjamin.


Places You Love, along with APEEL, the Australian Committee for IUCN and the National Environmental Law Association convened a national symposium on a new generation of environment laws in Canberra on the 27th March 2018.

The symposium brought together experts and interests from across disciplines, sectors and demographics to discuss the key challenges and directions for the next generation of environment laws to deliver genuine environmental protections.

Following the event attendees stayed on for an evening of networking across the movement, together with special guests Christina Angelidis, Political Counsellor, Embassy of France and Caroline Lambert, Climate and Environment Counsellor, Delegation of the European Union in Australia.

Check out the great speakers and topics covered in the program below.


  • Welcome

  • Mr Wally Bell, Ngunnawal Elder, Chair, Buru Ngunawal Aboriginal Corporation
  • Keynote address: The important role of independence in environmental governance

  • Professor Kate Auty, ACT Commissioner for Sustainability and the Environment
  • Australia on the global stage - leaders or laggards on ocean and coastal management

  • Professor Jan McDonald, Professor of Environmental Law, University of Tasmania / NELA board member
  • Video address from the IUCN World Commission on Environmental Law

  • Justice Antonio Benjamin, Chair, IUCN World Commission on Environmental Law
  • New governance and principles for Australian Environmental Law: insights from the Australian Panel of Experts on Environmental Law (APEEL)

  • Adjunct Professor Rob Fowler, Convener, Australian Panel of Experts on Environmental Law; Law School, University of South Australia
  • Effective democracy: legal frameworks that support human rights and public participation

  • Dr Bruce Lindsay, Lawyer, Environmental Justice Australia
  • Natural resource management and environmental law

  • Dr Hanna Jaireth, Director, National Environmental Law Association (NELA)
  • Natural resource management and environmental law

  • Associate Professor Cameron Holley, University of New South Wales Law
  • Q and A with the speakers

  • chaired by Rachel Walmsley, Director, Policy and Law Reform, Environmental Defenders Office NSW / Chair, Australian Committee for IUCN

Plus 4 panels:

Panel 1 - "Protecting nature: how the law can respond to Australia’s extinction crisis"

  • Chair: Jess Feehely, Principal Lawyer, EDO Tasmania / Vice President, NELA
  • Emeritus Professor David Farrier, University of Wollongong Law, APEEL member
  • Peter Burnett, PhD Candidate, ANU; former First Assistant Secretary, Department of the Environment
  • Dr Dejan Stojanovic, Post doctoral Fellow (Conservation Biology), ANU
  • Nicola Beynon, Head of Campaigns, Humane Society International

Panel 2 - "Air pollution, health and legal frameworks"

  • Chair: Julia Pitts, The Future Generations Project, Member IUCN WCEL
  • Nicola Rivers, A/g CEO, Environmental Justice Australia, APEEL member
  • Dr Ben Ewald, Senior Lecturer, School of Medicine and Public health, University of Newcastle

Panel 3 - "Compliance and the environmental rule of law"

  • Chair: Rachel Walmsley, Director, Policy and Law Reform, EDO NSW
  • David Morris, CEO, EDO NSW
  • Professor Neil Gunningham, Australian National University, APEEL member
  • Dr Gerry Bates, Specialist in Environmental Law and Policy, Adjunct Professor University of Sydney, APEEL Expert Adviser
  • Danya Jacobs, Lawyer, Forest Law Program, Environmental Justice Australia

Closing Panel - "Envisioning the future: better laws for a better planet"

  • Chair: Dr Hanna Jaireth, Director, NELA
  • Professor Lee Godden, University of Melbourne Law School
  • Dr Michelle Maloney, National Convenor, Australian Earth Laws Alliance
  • Kelly O’Shanassay, CEO, Australian Conservation Foundation
  • Peter Cochrane, Councillor, IUCN