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2016 Events

Annual Lecture - 29th September 2016

A significant initiative of the Centre is its Annual Lecture series. This series presents key figures speaking on environmental law and policy, with a focus on environmental justice - the core theme of the Centre.

The Annual Lecture, held on September 29th, was opened by Professor Natalie Klein, our esteemed Dean of Macquarie Law School. Following the Dean was Professor Leslie Hughes, our Pro Vice-Chancellor (Research Integrity & Development) and Distinguished Professor of Biology who introduced the Honourable Rob Stokes MP as this year’s esteemed speaker.  Mr Stokes is an honoured alumni of Macquarie Law School and a member of our Centre.

The topic for the evening was “Cities and Sustainability: Operationalising Sustainability Principles in Metropolitan Planning Governance”. Minister Stokes detailed the inherent conflict between cities and ESD principles, international models for sustainable development and previous and present planning attempts of the NSW Planning Ministry. The lecture was fact heavy and Mr Stokes impressively did not even need the assistance of lecture slides or notes to deliver his talk.

As Minister Stokes stressed, the future of humanity is tied up in cities. Mega cities are becoming the norm and therefore more focus and care needs to be taken with metropolitan governance as city development often conflicts with sustainability principles. This is because cities are intrinsically unsustainable, with 70% of the worlds greenhouse gases and global waste being generated by cities. However, Mr Stokes did highlight New South Wales commitment to the cause, citing the Protection of the Environment Administration Act 1991 (NSW) as having the first articulation of ecologically sustainable development in Australian law and being one of the first international ESD clauses.

Following this, Minister Stokes acknowledged shortcomings in the government’s approach to sustainability in the past. This led his Ministry to consider international models of development when deliberating over its current plan, the Greater Sydney Commission. Ultimately, London was chosen as a model to replicate due to similarities in legislative history and culture. He emphasised the importance of having the right balance between bottom up planning (local government input) and top down guidance (state systems and infrastructure).

The talk turned to Sydney specifically. Minister Stokes praised the 1940’s labour government’s creation of the County of Cumberland Council Planning Scheme, noting its failure was due to lack of state government participation. He then criticised its replacement, the State Planning Authority as it was too technocratic. Discussion of the Greater Sydney Commission followed. Mr Stokes amusingly referred to it as a ‘baby bear model’, having the right amount of bottom up and top down participation. It was clear he has faith in the project’s ability to steer Sydney towards a sustainable and thriving future.

Minister Stokes ended the evening by suggesting Sydney needed to ‘retrofit’, return to an urban model from our current suburban setup. He reiterated his role as Minister for Planning was to make Australian’s lives better by enabling growth of our cities in a sustainably manageable way. The night then concluded with Minister Stokes answering audience questions about possible issues with the Greater Sydney Commission. His answers demonstrated his commitment to community engagement and passion for his Ministry’s duties.

Sustainable Public Procurement Program - Indonesian Ministry of National Development and Planning

This Program examined the interface between sustainable development and public procurement by way of discussing the concept of sustainable development, the role of public procurement in achieving sustainable development with reference to current state of play. Participants will understand the strengths and limitations of implementing sustainable public procurement in Indonesia in the context of global public procurement policies, best practices and Indonesian institutional and governance frameworks.

Management practices and human capital development for effective sustainable public procurement requires a broad understanding of key principles of public procurement, sustainable development and effective governance.

The definition for Sustainable Procurement adopted by the United Nations Environment Program is:

  • a process whereby organisations meet their needs for goods, services, works and utilities in a way that achieves value for money on a whole life basis in terms of generating benefits not only to the organisation, but also to society and the economy, whilst minimising damage to the environment.

Promoting sustainable public procurement practices in accordance with national policies and priorities will contribute to Sustainable Development Goal 12 to “Ensure Sustainable Consumption and Production Patterns” under the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. This approach recognizes the importance of achieving a balance between three pillars of sustainable development:  economic, social and environmental.

Sustainable Development Goal 16 to “Promote Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions ” includes two targets addressed by this Program:

  •        Substantially reduce corruption and bribery in all their forms
  •        Develop effective, accountable and transparent institutions at all levels


This Program was developed pursuant to a Memorandum of Understanding between the Centre for Planners’ Development, Education and Training, National Development Planning Agency (BAPPENAS), Indonesia, and the Centre for Environmental Law, Macquarie University. It was funded under the Scholarships Program for Strengthening Reforming Institutions (SPIRIT) with the support of Macquarie University, Ryde Council, and Australian and New South Wales Government departments hosting visits by the participants during the Program.

Program Aims and Objectives

This Program incorporates the course aims set out for Training III: Procurement and Finance Administration and Management, under the terms of reference for the Scholarships Program for Strengthening Reforming Institutions (SPIRIT), which are noted as follows:

Aims & Objectives

The course aims to provide a comprehensive overview of procurement aspects and the importance of financial administration and management in human resource projects. The training will be focused on such aspects as: negotiation and communication with stakeholders, major procurement methods, develop Terms of References, evaluation of bids, transparency, manage big data for expenditures, and understand the language, tools and techniques of financial management, accounting and administration. The training should focus on the human resource project, such as grants, loans, government funds.

1.    To introduce financial administrative and  management guidelines

2.  To gain an understanding of the fundamentals of the laws, critical concepts, procedures, and  policies involved with sound financial management. 

3.  To learn to link management, budgeting and auditing to performance measurement; recognize  the primary requirements of financial systems; and adhere to government wide policies.

4.  To learn how to analyze and address financial management issues (staffing, internal controls,  accounting systems, reporting, auditing, etc.)

5.   To provide capacity building in procurement by focusing on procurement process, procurement cycle, procurement planning, differences in types and methods of procurement as well as preparation of bidding documents for goods/ works.

6.    To provide knowledge on selection methods for services, and prepare request for proposals; 

7.   To improve skills in preparing evaluation reports for procurement of goods, works and selection of consultants; and 

8.    To be familiar with contract implementation and contract management.

Each of the above Objectives will be achieved through a structured program of lectures by expert speakers, expert-led workshops, and industry visits. 

Sessions drawing upon expertise in the Centre for Environmental Law and Department of Accounting and Corporate Governance at Macquarie University and external expert consultants are as follows:



Expert Speaker


Promoting Sustainable Development by Incorporating Sustainability into Public Procurement

Prof. Shawkat Alam


Integrity, Transparency and Accountability

Dr. Carlos Bernal


Principles and Theories of Human Resource Management

Ms. Deborah Howlett


Legal Frameworks and Regulation: Contracts, Business Organisations, and Corporate Management and Governance

Dr. Michael Quilter


Procurement Strategy and Planning

Ms. Louise Hart


Risk Management and Appropriate Risk Management Systems

Dr. Catriona Lavermicocca


Evaluation of Proposals

Ms. Louise Hart


Sustainable Public Procurement in Local Government

Mr. John Schanz


E-Governance and Transparency: Public Sector Delivery & Information Management

Dr. Yvette Blount


Human Capital Development for Sustainable Procurement in Government Financial Administration and Management

Ms. Deborah Howlett


Technology’s Role in the Support of Procurement

Dr. Mauricio Marrone


A Structured Approach to Planning and Strategy: The Role of Enterprise Risk Management

Dr. Rahat Munir

Industry visits to provide participants with experience of Australian best practice will include: 

  • Independent Commission Against Corruption (New South Wales)
  • Procurement New South Wales 
  • Department of Finance, Government of Australia

MOPA Professional Development Program - Effective Governance for Sustainable Development

This year, building on previous professional development programs run by the Centre, CEL, in collaboration with the Ministry of Public Administration of the Government of Bangladesh, welcomed 100 Bangladeshi officials to campus over the course of 5 weeks delivering a training program on the topic of effective governance for sustainable development in May and June. This program provided an opportunity for professional development of its participants to enhance understanding of key principles of sustainable development, effective governance, the rule of law, transparency and accountability, e-governance,public service ethics, human resource management, public policy development, and compliance challenges of international treaties.

Careers and Competitions Night

A wonderful evening with advice from Justice Nicola Pain, Judith Preston, David Newhouse and Matthew Fraser was held on 2 June 2016. A common theme ran through the speakers talks: pursue your passion. Alongside the careers advice, we hosted our second student paper and presentation competition, this year on the theme of the relationship between environmental justice and human rights. The finalists for the presentation competition, Alex Roussos, Caitlin Polo, Nathan Ricardo and Ashley Avci, all presented their extremely diverse and excellent papers.  Nathan’s explosive presentation on the environmental law of war ended up taking the prize in a tight competition. Following this was the papers of Rebecca Hadfield, Victoria Whiteman and Kaitlin Murphy. Kaitlin’s paper on environmental justice in Australian law and policy won this category, closing out a brilliant display from our passionate environmental law professionals and students.

Sustainability Dialogues 2016: Rising Up

'Rising Up: The role of citizen activism in a sustainable society' was the topic for this year’s Sustainability Dialogue co-hosted Ku-ring-gai Council at the Zenith Theatre in Chatswood, held on 26 May 2016. The annual Sustainability Dialogues are a collaborative enterprise between the Centre for Environmental Law and Ku-ring-gai Council, bringing together leaders in science, law, business, government and communities to discuss contemporary and pressing sustainability and environmental justice issues.

Our host this year was comedian and activist Rod Quantock.  Our panellists were the NSW Planning Minister, the Hon. Rob Stokes MP; CEO of Nature Conservation Council, Kate Smolski, and Chief Justice of the Land and Environmental Court, the Hon. Justice Brian J Preston SC. The debate was extremely heated however all panellists acknowledged the need for reform in this area.  The night finished with audience participation which highlighted the real concerns of the local community.


2015 Events

Centre for Environmental Law Inaugural Lecture 

Date: Thursday, 19 November 2015
Time: 6pm to 8pm
Venue: Building Y3A Theatre 1, Macquarie University, North Ryde NSW 2109

The Centre for Environmental Law  hosted its inaugural lecture "Access to Environmental Justice: The Effectiveness of Law" presented by the Hon Justice Brian J Preston SC, Chief Judge, Land and Environment Court of New South Wales.

Environmental justice includes at least three concepts: distributive justice, procedural justice and justice as recognition. This presentation highlighted aspects in which the law is helping or hindering access to environmental justice in these senses, with a particular focus on New South Wales. Chief Justice Preston ended the event advising that achieving access to environmental justice requires a holistic and comprehensive approach, tackling the factors outlined which impede equal justice for all, leaving the audience to reflect on how this might be done.

CEL Seminar Series 2015: The UN Security Council and Climate Change

Date: Wednesday, 12 August 2015
Time: 12:00pm to 1:00pm
Venue: The Blackshield Room, W6A 501, Macquarie University
Speaker: A/Professor Shirley Scott (University of New South Wales)
Contact: Mostafa Naser (

Abstract of the paper: The UN Security Council and Climate Change
Over the last decade there has been an evolving debate both within the United Nations and within the scholarly literature, as to whether it would be feasible and-or advantageous for the United Nations Security Council to consider climate change as within its purview. Given that irreversible global warming is underway and that this will inevitably have multiple global security implications - and indeed, that the Council has to some degree already addressed the issue - such a debate has become anachronistic. This presentation will review some of the factors that need to be taken into account in moving beyond a binary discussion of whether or not the Security Council should consider climate change. It maps four broad categories of action, situates the Council response to date within those categories, the likelihood of each being perceived as legitimate, and the prospects for an increased Council role in future.

About the speaker: A/Professor Shirley Scott
Shirley Scott is an Associate Professor of International Relations at UNSW. She works at the intersection of International Law and International Relations and has published widely in both disciplines including on aspects of climate change governance. She jointly edited with Professor Rosemary Rayfuse, International Law in the Era of Climate Change (Edward Elgar 2012) which was cited in the recent IPCC report as establishing the need to strengthen institutional synergies. Her current project examines the scope for action by the UN Security Council. Associate Professor Scott is Research Chair of the Australian Institute of International Affairs and a member of the executive council of the Asian Society of International Law.

Climate Security - a local perspective

Date: Saturday, 27 June 2015
Time: 6:30pm to 8:00pm
Venue: Price Theatre, Macquarie University
Contact: Dr Kirsten Davies (

The effects of climate change present an increasing threat to the lives of individuals and local communities, making us all more vulnerable to extreme weather. In light of this increased instability and insecurity Macquarie Law School’s Centre for Environmental Law, in partnership with Ku-ring-gai Council, hosted a critical sustainability dialogue, bringing together leaders in science, law, business, government and communities to discuss climate security at the local level.

Given Sydney’s recent storms, the relevance and urgency for action on this topic is clear. Ku-ring-gai Council, in its publication, Climate Change Adaptation Strategy states: “..climate modelling for 2030 in the Sydney region predicts significantly increased spring and summer rainfall while winter rainfall decreases, higher maximum temperatures, higher sea levels, changing flood patterns with greater runoff in summer and autumn; a longer fire season with increased frequency of very high or extreme fire-risk days and increased fire frequency and intensity. The risks emerging from these changed weather patterns feature more frequent and intense extreme weather events, such as bushfires, storms, droughts and heat waves.”

This event marks the commencement of a Memorandum of Understanding signed between Macquarie University and Ku-ring-gai Council in late 2014, under which the two organisation’s have agreed to work in close partnership for the benefit of local communities and environments.


See videos and photos from this event

Institutions for the Anthropocene: Governance in a Changing Earth System

Date: Wednesday, 3 June 2015
Time: 11:00am to 12:00pm
Venue: The Blackshield Room, W6A 501, Macquarie University
Speaker: Professor John S. Dryzek
Contact: Mostafa Naser (

The unusually stable Earth system of the Holocene epoch of the past 10,000 years, in which human civilization arose, is yielding to a more dynamic and unstable Anthropocene driven by human practices. The consequences for key institutions such as states, markets, and global governance, are profound. Path dependency in institutions complicit in destabilizing the Earth system constrains response to this emerging epoch. Institutional analysis can highlight reflexivity as the antidote to problematic path dependency. A more ecological discourse stresses resilience, foresight and state shifts in the Earth system. Ecosystemic reflexivity can be located as the first virtue of political institutions in the Anthropocene. Undermining all normative institutional models, this analysis enables re-thinking of political institutions in dynamic social-ecological terms.

About the speaker
John Dryzek is Australian Research Council Laureate Fellow and Centenary Professor in the Centre for Deliberative Democracy and Global Governance at the Institute for Governance and Policy Analysis, University of Canberra. He was previously Distinguished Professor of Political Science and Australian Research Council Federation Fellow at the Australian National University. He is a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences in Australia, former Head of the Departments of Political Science at the Universities of Oregon and Melbourne and of the Social and Political Theory program at ANU, and former editor of the Australian Journal of Political Science. Working in both political theory and empirical social science, he is best known for his contributions in the areas of democratic theory and practice and environmental politics.  His most recent book is Democratizing Global Climate Governance (Cambridge University Press, 2014, with Hayley Stevenson). He is currently co-editing The Oxford Handbook of Deliberative Democracy.

2014 Events

Sustainability Dialogues 2014: Achieving Climate Change Adaptation

A Parallel Event to the IUCN World Parks Congress Sydney 2014

Date: Friday, 14 November 2014
Time: 6:30pm - 8:30pm
Location: Room 305, Level 3, Macquarie City Campus, 11 York St, Sydney NSW 2000

Sustainability Dialogues 2014: Achieving Climate Change Adaptation is part of a series of annual symposiums held by the Centre for Environmental Law (CEL), Macquarie University which aims to facilitate discussion on international and domestic environmental law issues and provide a forum for future direction in sustainable development policy.

The Sustainability Dialogues 2014 will investigate various aspects of climate change adaptation including, inter alia, best practices, challenges being faced across the developing world, strategies to facilitate capacity building and the development of new strategic stakeholder partnerships to facilitate adaptation.

Speakers and forum include leading academics, judges, policy makers, lawyers and community organizations.

Distinguished Speakers:
Hon. Justice Nicola Pain (Land and Environment Court of NSW)
Professor Lesley Hughes (Macquarie University)
Professor Benjamin Richardson (University of Tasmania)
Dr Nilufer Oral (IUCN Academy of Environmental Law)
Mr Jeff Smith (Executive Director, EDO)
Dr Jennifer Scott (Ku-ring-gai Council, NSW)
Ms Marnie Kikken (Ku-ring-gai Council, NSW)

The event will take place in the form of a forum with a 90 minute panel discussion in which participants can pose questions to panel members. Sustainability Dialogues 2014 is open to decision and policy makers, lawyers, scientists, non-government organisations, businesses, students as well as interested members of the public.

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