The Australian government currently has no duty of care to protect young people and future generations from climate change. This has allowed politicians and policy makers to make decisions regarding climate policy without considering how they affect future Australians. However, this may soon change…
PHOTO: Activist Anjali Sharma (left), Hana (centre), and Senator David Pocock (right) at Parliament House, Canberra.
For the first time, the Federal Parliament is considering a Bill to implement a duty of care to require decision makers to consider the wellbeing of current and future children when making certain decisions that are likely to contribute to climate change, including decisions that will increase scope one, two, or three emissions. The Bill builds on the case of Sharma v Minister for the Environment, which was a legal challenge by brave Australian children who argued that all young Australians are owed a duty to take reasonable care to protect them from climate change harm. Read more about their story here.
The Climate Change Amendment (Duty of Care and Intergenerational Equity) Bill 2023 imposes a statutory duty on decision makers:
1. To consider the likely impact of decisions that could harm the climate on the health and wellbeing of current and future children as the paramount consideration; and
2. Not to make a decision that could harm the climate if the decision poses a material risk of harm to the health and wellbeing of current and future children in Australia.
The Senate Committee on Environment and Communications is accepting public submissions on the Climate Change Amendment (Duty of Care and Intergenerational Climate Equity) Bill 2023 until 23 November 2023.
Make A Submission
We have a chance to make our voices heard on this important Bill by making submissions to the inquiry. The Duty of Care team has prepared a How-To Guide for submissions, which can provides details on how the Bill would work, how to structure your submission, and some key points to include. It’s very important that the Committee hears from young people on this issue, so encourage the young people in your life to use these resources to write a submission too.
Make Your Submission
ONLINE: Lodge your submission by uploading to My Parliament – link below. If this is your first time submitting online to an inquiry, you will need to create a My Parliament log in.
EMAIL: You can make a submission by sending an email to email@example.com.
Submission Writing Workshop – Online
The Duty of Care Team has organised Youth Writeshops to help young people under the age of 25 write submissions for the Duty of Care Bill. Find and register for these events here.
CAFNEC and Parents 4 Climate co-hosted an online workshop for all ages, which included an explainer on the Bill from Duty of Care team member Jess, and a how-to guide for writing submissions.
Sign the Petition
Parents for Climate (P4C) are urging parents, grandparents, carers and family members to sign a petition calling on Federal Parliamentarians to support the Climate Change Amendment (Duty of Care and Intergenerational Equity) Bill 2023. Support this initiative by signing their petition here.