Page 272 - Week 01 - Thursday, 10 February 2022
destruction and biodiversity loss very significantly increase the chances of creating more zoonotic disease outbreaks, and this was predicted before the current pandemic arose.
We already recognise the importance of a healthy environment in the bush capital. It is time that it play an explicit part in the human rights considerations that are relevant to all of our decisions. When we add this vital right to our Human Rights Act we will become the first jurisdiction in Australia to do so, the first Australian jurisdiction to do it in the company of other forward-looking governments around the world, including Costa Rica and Switzerland. It will not be a standalone right but will mesh in a variety of ways with other rights supported within the ACT Human Rights Act, such as the substantive rights to life, equality, non-discrimination, the protection of children and the rights of traditional owners.
We all now take for granted the theory that humans are just one type of primate, but when first proposed this idea was revolutionary. The understanding that humans and human activity cannot exist in isolation from our environment will soon, I hope, be understood in the same way. Establishing the right to a healthy environment is a vital part of building and acting on this understanding.
If the Assembly does pass this motion, I look forward to further discussion of how this will be incorporated into the act, and subsequently the effects this will have on the law and decision-making practices within the territory. I am confident that it will be an important addition to our efforts to create a more sustainable future for this city, and, in doing so, we will be playing our part in building a more sustainable future for the whole planet.
MR DAVIS (Brindabella) (3.47): I would like to thank very much my colleague Ms Clay for bringing this motion to this place. As you all no doubt know—my colleagues as well as my community of Brindabella—my activism in this place is motivated by a deep sense of social and economic justice. Perhaps in the spectrum of where the Greens sit, I am on that side of the pendulum, but it is always wonderful to reinforce that the protection and conservation of our environment and decisive action to tackle the climate crisis is absolutely the core of what motivates the ACT Greens, the Australian Greens and our global political movement.
I would like to begin by quoting Tully Bowtell-Young, a 15-year-old Australian climate activist, who says:
I dream that for another child, summer has always been one of downpours, one of soggy shoes and wet day play. One filled with the music of frogs and the buzz of mosquitoes. One where the rain will always be a summer companion, not a destructive evil villain or a far away dream. This child lives in a future where drastic action was taken on climate change. Taken way back … when their mother was only 15.
For the east coast, this summer has been a brief reprieve from the droughts, fires and extreme temperatures of the preceding decade. I can still remember being 11 years old, in 2003, when mum packed up the car and took us down the coast when fires engulfed my Tuggeranong community. At that time my old man was the head of security at the