The AMA supports the Climate Change Amendment (Duty of Care and Intergenerational Climate Equity) Bill 2023 to require decision makers to consider the health and wellbeing of children in Australia when making significant decisions. However, the AMA believes that the word ‘children’ should be changed to ‘current and future generations’ to recognise that climate change impacts all generations. The AMA recommends that the Bill’s scope is expanded to also require decision makers to consider One Health impacts; a concept which recognises the inextricable link between human, animal, and environmental health.
Climate change is a health emergency, with clear evidence indicating severe impacts for our people and communities now and into the future. The AMA believes that government has a duty of care to protect future generations from the health impacts of climate change.
The AMA believes that this Bill will provide better accountability measures to enhance climate action. While the current government has improved on decades of inaction, the AMA believes the urgency of acting on climate change is not adequately reflected in Australia’s policies and programs. While some areas of government are taking action, other areas are still implementing policies and programs that will continue to exacerbate the impacts of climate change.
Our current systems are too siloed to achieve the level of collaboration and action needed to prevent and adapt to the health impacts of climate change.
This Bill is an essential starting point and paves the way for governments and disciplines other than health to be considering health and wellbeing impacts for future generations.