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Australian Food Sovereignty Alliance
  • Reporting to: Chair, AFSA Legal Defence Fund (LDF)
  • Hours: Part time, 8hrs/week, flexible with timing. Hours may increase at times of high activity. Hours to be reviewed in 6 months with the view to increase if needed.
  • Remuneration: $30/hour
  • Start: Mid June 2019

Job Purpose:

AFSA is seeking a paralegal to join its Legal Defence Fund (LDF). The paralegal will primarily support the work of the LDF Steering Committee which supports and advocates for small-scale farmers, artisanal producers, and the broader community through legal policy, reform and advocacy work. The LDF works closely with the AFSA Executive Committee and with AFSA members, through grassroots activities, communities of practice networks, and interest groups.

This role provides an opportunity to contribute to the food sovereignty movement and the broader community. The role involves high profile and challenging work, engagement with key stakeholders in the justice system, government and community, and the opportunity to advocate food sovereignty for all.

Key Effectiveness Areas/Responsibilities

The paralegal will contribute to key law reform, strategic advocacy and projects in partnership with the LDF Steering Committee and other key stakeholders. The paralegal will do this by:

  • supporting the LDF Steering Committee to develop and manage law reform campaigns on issues of significance for small-scale farmers, artisanal producers, and the broader community;
  • assisting to identify and act on emerging legal issues and trends in Australia and overseas;
  • building strong and productive relationships with stakeholders, including liaising with LDF Steering Committee members;
  • preparing clear, accessible and compelling legal research, analysis and advocacy;
  • assisting the LDF Steering Committee on internal and external projects;
  • preparing and disseminating committee meeting materials and agendas; and
  • attending and taking minutes of committee meetings and following up tasks arising out of committee meetings.

The paralegal will assist the LDF Steering Committee to provide practical support to AFSA members. The paralegal will do this by:

  • monitoring relevant legal, policy and other developments;
  • assisting to deliver high quality relevant and up-to-date information and resources to assist small-scale farmers, artisanal producers, and the broader community;
  • responding to enquiries from farmers and others requiring assistance in navigating the legal requirements associated with producing and accessing small-scale and artisanal foods:
  • referring people, as appropriate, to other agencies and organisations where further assistance is indicated;
  • helping to identify key topics for, and contributing to, continuing professional development programs and events for small-scale farmers and artisanal producers; and
  • presenting, and assisting AFSA representatives to present relevant and up-to-date information on legal policy and practice issues to key stakeholders and other audiences.

Capabilities / Core Competencies

  1. Teamwork: Working effectively with others (department and organisation) to accomplish Department goals; Taking action that respects the needs and contributions of others; contributing to and accepting the consensus.
  2. Accountability: Taking ownership for individual goals, activities and decisions for which you are accountable to ensure the successful achievement of quality results.

Knowledge & Skills

You will have a history of displaying the following competencies:

  • Demonstrated interest in legal policy and advocacy work
  • High level legal research skills, including an ability to interpret legislation and provide advice on complex legal issues
  • Excellent project management and problem solving skills
  • Strong written communication and interpersonal skills
  • Keen attention to detail
  • Ability to learn and work across multiple platforms
  • Excellent organisational skills with a proven ability to deal with competing deadlines
  • Initiative and accountability to ensure the successful achievement of high quality results, and
  • Ability to work effectively individually or as a team member to accomplish organisational goals.

Qualifications: You will be a law graduate with an Australian practising certificate.

About AFSA

The AUSTRALIAN FOOD SOVEREIGNTY ALLIANCE is a farmer-led organisation made up of organisations and individuals working together towards a food system in which people can create, manage, and choose their food system.

FOOD SOVEREIGNTY asserts the right of peoples to nourishing and culturally appropriate food produced and distributed in ecologically sound and ethical ways, and their right to collectively determine their own food and agriculture systems.

AFSA is a member of La Via Campesina (LVC), the leading voice of the global food sovereignty movement. LVC brings together millions of peasants, small and medium-size farmers, landless people, women farmers, indigenous people, migrants and agricultural workers from around the world. It defends small-scale sustainable agriculture as a way to promote social justice and dignity. It strongly opposes corporate-driven agriculture and transnational companies that are destroying people and nature.

AFSA is also a member of both the International Planning Committee for Food Sovereignty (IPC) and Urgenci: the International Network of Community Supported Agriculture. Our work with IPC takes us to many meetings around Asia Pacific and in Rome with the Food & Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the UN.

In 2016 AFSA formally constituted the Legal Defence Fund in response to the number of small-scale producers across Australia seeking assistance in dealing with inappropriate-to-scale regulations and planning schemes.

The Legal Defence Fund aims to:

  • establish a legal advice hotline for farmers and eaters so that nobody is left to fight alone;
  • compile and analyse casework to lobby for legal reform where necessary to support the growing fair food movement
  • develop factsheets and templates for food producers and local councils around regulatory requirements and best-practice planning;
  • provide advice on public and product liability for farms and food producers who sell direct to the public; and
  • provide support when small farms are caught up in a trial by media.

Currently AFSA has approximatly 660 individual, organisational, business and farm members. These members include national networks such as the Australian City Farms and Community Gardens Network, peak and government bodies such as Melbourne Farmers' Markets and the Victorian Local Governance Association, the City of Melbourne, and leading animal welfare and environmental organisations such as Humane Choice, MADGE and Gene Ethics.

AFSA works extensively with primary food producers and consumers across every state and territory in Australia. The committee has consisted of farmers from NSW, VIC, ACT, SA, QLD and WA, published academics and lecturers from RMIT, Deakin University, University of Tasmania, University of Sydney, and the Queensland University of Technology, and local food advocates and campaigners including Food Connect, Friends of the Earth, Regrarians, Fair Food Brisbane and the Permaculture Network. AFSA's vision is to enable regenerative farming businesses to thrive to support a food sovereign future.

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