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We should be thinking about young people when we make decisions. It’s our duty as politicians and policy makers to make sure the climate young people and future generations inherit is one they can live and thrive in. I want to be part of a parliament, and more importantly a country, that takes this responsibility seriously."

David Pocock, Independent Senator for the ACT

Join the 12,997 people already supporting the bill!

We all know the decisions we make today affect our future. When those decisions are made by politicians, they affect all of us.

When it comes to climate change, politicians and policy makers still aren’t acting in the best interests of young people and future generations.

We need to act now if we want to protect the people and places we love.

We support the Climate Change Amendment (Duty of Care and Intergenerational Equity) Bill 2023 which 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.

We the undersigned call on the federal parliament to pass legislation that imposes this Duty of Care and act now if we want to protect the people and places we love.

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What does the Duty of Care Bill do?

The bill seeks to add two conditions to decisions made under six existing pieces of legislation, including the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999. In particular, decisions that facilitate the financing and development of projects that could harm the climate.

These conditions would require that decision makers consider the impact of decisions that could harm the climate on the health and wellbeing of current and future children. They would also prevent decisions that would harm the climate if the decision poses a material risk of harm to the health and wellbeing of current and future children in Australia. 

You can find out more about the bill here.

The Story

The Australian government currently has no duty of care to protect young people and future generations from climate change.

The Duty of Care Bill builds on the case of Sharma v Minister for the Environment, 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.  

Although the case was initially successful, the federal government appealed the decision and it was overturned.

Chief Justice Allsop said that

A duty that calls up such questions should not be imposed [by the judiciary]: It is one of core, indeed high, policy-making for the Executive and Parliament involving questions of policy.

In 2023, on graduating high school, the lead litigant in that case, Anjali Sharma, moved to Canberra and reached out to her new Senator with the hope of continuing the conversation. 

Together they are joining with Australians of all generations to call on the government to embed a duty of care in law.

Like so many of my friends, I’m increasingly scared about my future. The past few years have seen temperatures that have broken records and climate fuelled natural disasters unfolding across the world. And all evidence shows us this will only get worse unless we act. We are at a crossroads in history, the government can either act in accordance with its duty to young people to deliver us a safe and liveable future, or set us on a path to climate catastrophe.”

- Anjali Sharma, lead litigant in Sharma v Minister for the Environment