Lobbying for health environment to be included in ACT’s human rights law | Canberra time

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ACT Greens MP Jo Clay will move a motion in the Legislative Assembly on Thursday to have the right to a healthy environment included in the ACT Human Rights Act. Its inclusion would provide another level of protection for the environment when the policy was considered. Ms Clay said every piece of legislation passed in the ACT must have a statement of compliance stating that it is compatible with human rights law. The inclusion of the right to a healthy environment would encourage consideration of the environment and transparency when compliance is not met. Including the right to a healthy environment in human rights law would not necessarily provide individuals or groups with the ability to seek compensation if they felt that right had been violated, Ms Clay said. She said legislation known as the Right to Remedy, which is currently before the Justice and Community Safety Committee, would provide that possibility. “If we ended up having this right to a remedy, it would actually give all of our human rights more teeth,” she said. Ms Clay said that while the United Nations had passed a resolution that a healthy environment was a human right, no jurisdiction in Australia had enacted it. “The ACT often leads the way for many social and environmental policies and what we see is that when we take a step forward, other states follow,” she said. Although the ACT was the first jurisdiction to have a human rights law in 2004, the right to a healthy environment was not included in it, Ms Clay said. She said its inclusion would guarantee Canberrans the right to clean air, a safe climate, healthy ecosystems and biodiversity. “It’s essential if we want healthy and sustainably produced food, clean water and a healthy planet,” said Ms Clay. Ms Clay said she believed this would have an impact on the government’s proactive policy going forward. She said the ACT government was currently looking at ways to grow food more sustainably, which would be of greater importance under its proposed change. “It actually gives you a lot more leverage to say, let’s make sure we put enough resources and dedicate enough land to urban agriculture,” she said. “It’s a human right that we have a healthy environment, so let’s make sure we do it right.” READ ALSO: The right to a healthy environment was part of the Greens’ election promises made during the 2020 campaign. Ms Clay said the bill was well supported by her colleagues and she was confident the motion would pass on Thursday . ‘I was really happy that we were able to get this into the parliamentary and government agreement and so this is our next step,’ Ms Clay said. Our reporters work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. Here’s how you can continue to access our trusted content: