Call to protect wellbeing of future generations

Griffith University researchers are leading the charge to ensure short-term policy thinking is a system of the past to protect future generations.

Short-termism is an issue the EveryGen group is addressing and it’s calling for a law reform agenda which holds decision makers accountable for Australia’s long-term interests.

EveryGen convenor, human rights lawyer and Griffith University Policy Innovation Hub Professor Susan Harris Rimmer said the Welsh model for protecting future generations is an act which we can look up to.

Griffith Policy Innovation Hub Professor Susan Harris Rimmer leading the charge for the wellbeing of future generations.

“If we waste time playing whack-a-mole on policy issues we will collectively burn out from advocating for separate issues — alternatively we can solve the problem at the root cause,” said Professor Harris Rimmer.

“We must not compromise the wellbeing of future generations in the decisions we make today – climate, housing, aged care, skills, any aspect of policy.”

Adopted first in Wales, Ms Sophie Howe served six years as the first ever Commissioner for Future Generations enacting the Wellbeing of Future Generations Act.

The act embedded the protection of future generations into legislation, making sustainable development the organising principle of government.

EveryGen is excited to partner with the Centre for Policy Development and welcomes Ms Howe’s visit to Australia, to deliver the 2023 Menadue Oration and ignite public discourse about the potential of a Future Generations Act in Australia.

Amplifying the voices of current and future generations, EveryGen is a collaboration of multidisciplinary policy experts working to address intergenerational challenges, create an equitable, just and transformative path towards intergenerational justice.

“Australia needs a Future Generations Act and a Future Generations Commissioner, and we want parties to take this promise to the next election,” Professor Harris Rimmer said.

“Australia’s democratic system inherently prioritizes short term agenda to satisfy the majority rule in the current generation because of short electoral cycles.

“The Act would empower organisations and public bodies to look beyond indicators like GDP which doesn’t account for well-being of citizen or protecting the environment.

Griffith Honors Student Kate McGuire wants the needs of future generations to be considered in all public decisions.

The EveryGen project also wants to build the capabilities and leadership of public servants.

Griffith Honours College Student Ms Kate McGuire said the Future Generations Act would impel public bodies to address the needs of future generations in all decisions and be accountable for their actions.

“Youth are struggling to feel positive about their future and we want to empower young people and build opportunities for future generations to exercise their agency,” Ms McGuire said.

“It is our mission to amplify the voices of current and future generations and begin to discuss the long-term impacts of today’s policy decisions.

“We need like-minded organisations and peak bodies to join us in this call.”

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