CREEL aims to promote research, teaching and publication into the legal, regulatory and policy frameworks that engage with:
- The protection of the environment and the promotion of ecologically sustainable development;
- The production and distribution of energy, including climate change law and regulation;
- The sustainable development of natural resources, especially water;
- The planning for, and regulation of infrastructure in urban areas, and regulation associated with energy and resource development;
- The recognition and protection of Indigenous rights and interests in land and resources
- Environmental Justice.
History and Current Research Directions
The Centre for Resources, Energy and Environmental Law (CREEL) was established at Melbourne Law school in 1986. Until 1996 it was the Centre for Natural Resources Law, and the teaching program was primarily focused upon laws relating to mining, petroleum and water resources; the legal structure and financing of major resources projects; and some aspects of environmental regulation. In 1996 substantial changes were made to research directions to extend the program to cover contemporary issues of national and international importance.
In the 21st century, research themes have included production and distribution of energy – with a later strong emphasis on International climate change law and domestic energy transition; environmental impact of energy, resources and infrastructure projects; sustainable food systems and animal law, biodiversity protection, human rights - specifically Indigenous peoples’ rights over land and waters; water law and governance - with a groundwater specialty, offshore petroleum developments, environmental law and constitutionalism, and a growing body of research around ecological regulation, and environmental jurisprudence.
CREEL has recently collaborated in its research with a diversity of organisations. Selected representative groups include:
- The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP);
- The Murray-Darling Basin Authority; and Melbourne Water
- The National Native Title Council; and peak Indigenous Water and Environmental organisations in Australia
- The Section on Energy, Environment, Natural Resources and Infrastructure Law (SEERIL) of the International Bar Association
- The Australian Mining and Petroleum Law Association Limited (AMPLA)
CREEL also collaborates with community environmental law organisations such as Environmental Justice Australia and the Environmental Defenders’ Office and CREEL is a member of the IUCN environmental law section. CREEL has research partners in leading environmental and energy law centres in Universities across the USA, Canada, Europe and the United Kingdom. It is building relationships with research centres in South Asia and South East Asia and in the Pacific region.