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Panel Discussion: Can we talk about a 'Right to Repair' in Australia?

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Event description

With the increasing public attention given to the ‘right to repair’ campaign in the United States, this panel considers what a ‘right to repair’ might look like in an Australian context. Given Australia’s reliance on imported technologies, and our existing IP and consumer protection laws, how can we encourage repair rather than simply the replacement of broken objects and devices?

How do manufacturers’ ‘Technological Protection Measures’ prevent repair and how might this be challenged? The panel will also address the libertarian basis of the ‘right to repair’ movement in the US, and consider whether repair campaigns in Australia might take a different form. Encouraging repair over wastage is an inherently cross-disciplinary problem. With this in mind, this discussion brings together distinct perspectives from design, law, e-waste advocacy, repair advocacy and professional repair.

5pm entry for refreshments and a 5:30pm start.

Panel: John Gertsakis (Ewaste Watch); Assoc Prof Leanne Wiseman (Griffith University); Annette Mayne (The Reconnect Project); Dr Guy Keulemans (UNSW).

Annette Mayne has over 20 years' experience in communications and community education, with a focus on waste avoidance. She has spent the last 15 years working with Councils, charities and social enterprises on the three R's: reduce, reuse, recycle - but has become increasingly frustrated with the lack of repair options for consumers. Annette has turned her attention to hand-held technology, and recently launched The Reconnect Project, a social enterprise giving old phones and devices a new life through repair and reuse. 

Associate Professor Leanne Wiseman is Associate Director of the Australian Centre for Intellectual Property in Agriculture, Griffith Law School, Griffith University, and is an expert in the ‘right to repair’ in an Australian agricultural context. Leanne is Chief Investigator on the project ‘Accelerating Precision: Agriculture to Decision Agriculture’, a collaborative project that has designed a solution for the use of big data in agriculture – increasing the profitability of producers, providing clarity about data ownership and access rights, and improving farming strategies.

John Gertsakis is a sustainability practitioner with experience as an advocate, industry adviser and research academic. He is director and co-founder of the Ewaste Watch Institute, and he co-authored Australia’s first report on e-waste in 1995. He served as Executive Director of Product Stewardship Australia from 2006 to 2011. John is currently Director of Communications with Equilibrium consultants, and Adjunct Professor with the Institute for Sustainable Futures at UTS. John has written and presented widely on sustainable product design, extended producer responsibility and the need for increased regulation to drive industry reform. He is an Honorary Fellow of the Design Institute of Australia.

Dr Guy Keulemans is a designer, artist and researcher at UNSW Art & Design. Guy creates critical objects and processes informed by history, philosophy, sustainability theory and experimental methods. His areas of interest include transformative repair and reuse, generative processes, and the environmental impacts of production and consumption.

Chair: Dr Jesse Adams Stein, event developed in collaboration with Guido Verbist, The Bower Reuse & Repair Centre

Repair Design Website:

Related Events:

Background Information: 'Does Australia Need the "Right to Repair"?'

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