Clean air and water - It's a human right

12 December, 2018

Dear Attorney-General,

Thank you for introducing the Human Rights Bill 2018 into the Queensland Parliament. This Bill would be a significant benefit to all Queenslanders, particularly our most vulnerable, and is strongly supported.

It recognises inherent rights Queenslander’s deserve and expect to have protected, and will help to improve the ability of Queenslander’s to access justice.

One key addition needed in the Bill is a right to a healthy environment.

Without a clean, healthy environment, the basic human rights to life, health, work and education all cannot be fully realised.

We ask that prior to passing the Bill you amend it to include a right to a healthy environment, for all of us.

Think you deserve a right to clean air and clean water?

Sign our petition calling on the Attorney-General to amend the Human Rights Bill 2018 to include a right to a healthy environment!

On 31 October 2018, a Human Rights Bill 2018 was introduced into Queensland Parliament. 

This is a momentous occasion for Queensland – we encourage you to show your support for this Bill, and to help ensure it provides the meaningful protection of human rights that Queenslanders all deserve!

You can view the relevant documents here:

Key features of the Bill:

  • Establishes statutory recognition and protection for 23 human rights, including the right to: recognition and equality before the law; taking part in public life; cultural rights for Aboriginal peoples and Torres Strait Islander peoples and cultural rights more generally; right to a fair hearing; right to education and right to health services.

  • Provides mechanisms to ensure public functions are compatible with human rights, including providing:
    • an obligation on public entities (defined in clause 9) to act and make decisions in a way that is compatible with human rights; and
    • (with some exceptions) that it is unlawful for a public entity:
      • to act or make a decision in a way that is not compatible with human rights (clause 58(1)(a)); or
      • in making a decision, to fail to give proper consideration to a human right relevant to the decision (clause 58(1)(b)).
  • Provides for a ‘Queensland Human Rights Commission’ to provide a dispute resolution process for dealing with human rights complaints, and to promote acceptance and public discussion around human rights (replacing the Anti-Discrimination Commission).

  • No stand-alone legal remedy for contravention of the Bill, but a power to ‘piggy-back’ a claim of unlawful contravention of the Human Rights Act onto another independent cause of action against a public entity (like a right to seek judicial review of a government decision).

  • Provides a means of embedding discussion of and respect for human rights in the culture of the Queensland public sector and broader society.

You can view a helpful list of the 23 human rights protected in the Explanatory Notes at page 3.

Overall, this Human Rights Bill would be highly beneficial to Queenslanders through helping to safeguard the basic freedoms and protections that all human beings are entitled to. However, also …

The right to a healthy environment is an essential human right that must be protected!

EDO Qld considers that everyone of us deserves recognition of our basic right to a healthy environment, such as the right to clean air and water. Without a clean, healthy environment, the basic human rights to life, health, work and education all cannot be fully realised.

As stated in principle 1 of the Rio Declaration, human beings are "at the centre of concerns for sustainable development.  They are entitled to a healthy and productive life in harmony with nature.”

Most modern democracies have included a right to a healthy environment in their foundational texts.

Please sign our petition calling on Queensland's Attorney-General to amend the Human Rights Bill 2018 to include a right to a healthy environment!

 

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