Environmental Justice in Australia

May 16, 2014

The term 'environmental justice' has been very little used in Australia, and certainly not in the rich context that it has been in the United States. However there are signs that the concept is starting to gain traction here. For example, the Victorian Environment Protection Authority is currently considering how the concept might be developed and applied by them in a regulatory context.

This project will explore and develop the concept of 'environmental justice' as a principle for identifying priority areas of unmet need, and then develop appropriate and effective methods so that we and other centres can meet these needs. This will be achieved by looking at three case studies, comprising: rural disadvantage in access to information and services with respect to land use planning, traditional owner involvement in natural resource management, and community involvement in decision-making around the disposal of waste, particularly hazardous waste.

We would like to thank the Victoria Law Foundation for funding this work.

View final report Environmental Justice Project (July 2012, PDF, 1.25MB)

View discussion paper Environmental Justice in Australia (December 2011, PDF, 515KB)

View map Environmental Justice in Victoria (by Billy Greenham, Masters of Planning student at the University of Melbourne, July 2012, PDF, 1.7MB)

Environmental Justice Symposium (27 July 2012)

On Friday 27 July we hosted a day-long Environmental Justice Symposium where 70 activists, lawyers, academics, representatives of government and other practitioners gathered to discuss how they could work together to further environmental justice objectives in Australia.

View the Environmental Justice Symposium program (PDF 181KB)

The afternoon of the Symposium had attendees participating in revolving discussion sessions in a World Café format. Summaries of the notes taken by the table hosts in each session are available below.*

View discussion notes Topic 1: Broadening environmentalism to include 'justice'  (PDF 400KB)

View discussion notes Topic 2: Incorporation of EJ in to legal and governence structures (PDF 330KB)

View discussion notes Topic 3: What is meaningful and genuine participation? (PDF 309KB)

View discussion notes Topic 5: What might an EJ movement look like? (PDF 341KB)

*These are intended to provide a snapshot of the discussions for those who were not able to attend, and do not represent a full list of every issue discussed. They do not necessarily represent our views with regard to each of the topics.

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