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Australian Peoples’ Tribunal for Community and Nature’s Rights

Citizen's Inquiry: The Impacts of Industrial Scale Agriculture on Community and Nature's Rights

Saturday 27th October 2018 – 8.30am to 5pm
Banco Court, 415 George Street, Brisbane



Join us for an important one day citizens' inquiry into the impact of industrial scale agriculture (food, fibre and livestock production) on Australia's ecosystems and local communities.

Agriculture is the largest single cause of deforestation, vegetation clearing and biodiversity loss around the world. In Australia, land clearing for grazing has led to significant ecological impacts and large scale irrigation for crops has had a devastating impact on many of our water systems – rivers, streams and groundwater.

The primary focus of the Tribunal is to hear about the impacts, as well as solutions and positive ways forward, that restore biodiversity, soil and water systems, embrace compassionate farming practices and support indigenous knowledge systems and ongoing cultural practices.

The 2018 Citizen’s Inquiry is non-adversarial and is solutions focused. 

As climate change increases the severity of droughts, heat waves and water shortages, we need to examine the real cost of current agricultural practices and find effective ways to grow food and fibre in Australia, which don’t destroy the foundations of our ecosystems and communities.

The key issues the Inquiry will examine include: What impact has industrial scale agriculture had on First Nations Peoples’ Food Systems since colonisation in 1788 and how can these systems be restored? What impact has industrial scale agriculture had on the continent’s ecosystems? How can we change modern agricultural practices so that they support, rather than destroy, Australia’s ecosystems and biodiversity? How can we build human food systems that fit within our ecological limits?


  • Fred Hooper, Northern Basin Aboriginal Nations
  • Warren Saunders, Gunggari First Nations Peoples
  • Charles Massy, farmer and author of ‘The Call of the Reed Warbler’
  • Professor George Wilson, ANU Fenner School of Environment
  • Katherine McBride, farmer, Darling River
  • Maryanne Slattery, Senior Water Researcher, The Australia Institute
  • Dr Martin Taylor, Ecologist, University of Qld and WWF
  • Joel Orchard, Northern Rivers Young Farmer's Alliance,  and Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) Alliance Australia New Zealand
  • Revel Pointon, Lawyer, Environmental Defenders Office
  • Professor Fran Sheldon, Ecologist, Australian Rivers Institute
  • Bruce Lindsay, Lawyer, Environmental Justice Australia
  • Emma-Kate Rose and Rob Pekin, Food Connect Foundation
  • Eva Peroni, Independent Researcher
  • Scott Wallace, Independent Researcher and Animal Rights Activist
  • Sarah Moles, Lifeblood Alliance



  • Cormac Cullinan, South African attorney and author of “Wild Law”
  • Eric Holt-Gimenez, Food First, USA
  • Charles Levkoe, Lakehead University, Toronto, Canada



The Tribunal Panel includes First Nations People, lawyers and food systems experts, including:

  • Dr Michelle Maloney, Lawyer, AELA
  • Mary Graham, Adjunct Associate Professor, University of Queensland and Kombumerri First Nations person
  • Ross Williams, Bindal/Juru First Nations person
  • Gill Boehringer, Lawyer
  • Gwynn MacCarrick, Lawyer, University of Tasmania