Call to Parties: Sustainability, climate and disaster response

Queensland Law Society recognises that mitigation of human induced climate change and adaptation to the changing climate are amongst the greatest challenges facing Queenslanders.

It believes that these must be given proper weight by the political parties in the lead-up to the 2020 state election, as must Queensland’s legal framework for responding to disasters.

Queensland is the largest contributor to Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions,1 which in turn are amongst the highest in the world per capita and amongst the highest in the OECD per unit of GDP.2

While emissions have reduced since peaking in 2005, there has been no sustained downward trend in net emissions in recent years. Queensland’s community and economy are also highly susceptible to natural disasters, including those linked to changing climate.

In accordance with the QLS commitment to evidence-based policy, the 2020 Call to Parties Statement calls for a commitment to a Queensland Productivity Commission review of laws relating to disaster response in Queensland and the impacts on our community and economy.

It also calls for an effective, evidence-based legislative framework to respond to climate change that:

  • is informed by the independent advice of a Productivity Commission-style body, drawing on evidence and research to ensure that the legislative framework:

    (i) is clear, consistent and in accordance with the principles of good law, and

    (ii) sets out the intended policy objectives with clear processes and mechanisms to achieve those objectives
  • includes clear pathways, targets and reporting to achieve Queensland’s policy outcomes and contributes to Australia’s international undertakings in response to climate change, including the Paris Agreement
  • makes additional funding available to the legal assistance sector in recognition of the ongoing increased legal need of climate impacted vulnerable and disadvantaged communities
  • involves meaningful consultation with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People about the impacts of climate change on land that they, as original custodians, have cared for and managed for over 60,000 years
  • provides a certain, timely and equitable pathway for the transition of those relying on carbon intensive industries to more sustainable alternatives.

The Queensland state election is to be held on 31 October.

1 According to the most recent State Greenhouse Gas Inventory (2018), Queensland emitted 32% of Australia’s total greenhouse gas inventory.
2 Australia has the second highest intensity of greenhouse gas emissions in the OECD per unit of GDP and the highest intensity per capita according to 2017 data published by the OECD. Australia ranks around 15th for total emissions according to 2017 data published by the International Energy Agency.

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