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Climate Change - Young People and Mental Health Concerns

Dr Rosalie Woodruff MP

Dr Rosalie Woodruff MP  -  Thursday, 16 September 2021

Tags: Climate Change, Children and Young People


Minister, young people across the planet are suffering enormous anxiety and distress over the climate crisis. A large global survey by a UK psychology alliance has found two-thirds of young people feel betrayed by their governments for not protecting them, their planet, or future generations. The author said, 'now is the time to face the truth'. Recently the Premier joined the ranks of climate deniers, Barnaby Joyce, Matt Canavan, Craig Kelly and Eric Abetz by accusing the Greens of scaring children when we raised the urgency of acting hard and fast to reduce carbon emissions. Instead of dealing with the issues, your Government is grotesquely doubling down, with ministers and backbenchers blaming the Greens for causing children's fear about the future. Do you agree we have a profound moral responsibility to speak truth to young people and stop treating them as pawns in a new climate denialism game.

Will you take a stand on behalf of the tens of thousands of young Tasmanians and push back against this disgusting anti-science rhetoric which is promoting mental ill-health amongst Tasmanian young people?



Mr Speaker, I thank the member, Dr Woodruff, for her question.

In the comparisons she has made with the Premier and others, I simply say that we have the most committed Premier to climate change and the environment in Tasmania's history, the first premier to have responsibility for the climate change. The Premier has clearly articulated, as I have, the importance of offering our young people hope and aspiration. Yes, there are challenges with respect to climate change. This side of the House categorially are not climate change deniers, not one iota, and firmly believe in the science.

When it comes to supporting young people and their mental health and wellbeing, it is important that we are a government committed to investing in those key resources, particularly when it comes to supporting our young people and our adolescents.

Dr Woodruff - Climate emergency is the truth.

Mr ROCKLIFF - We are very committed when it comes to our child and adolescent mental health reform agenda. Some $41.5 million investment into the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) which, with the report released last year - a warts and all report - needed much change to deliver better services -

Dr Woodruff - It is not what I am talking about. It is about the anti-Greens blaming, attacking everyone else instead of talking about science.

Mr SPEAKER - Order. Member for Franklin, you have put the question. Please allow the minister to answer it without interjection.

Mr ROCKLIFF - and more holistic services, to the general community, but particularly when it comes to child and adolescent mental health reform.

Dr Woodruff - Are you going to call your wayward backbenchers into line? They are damaging young people.

Mr SPEAKER - Member for Franklin, order.

Mr ROCKLIFF - I missed Dr Woodruff's interjection there.

Dr Woodruff - We have young people who want the truth, Chloe Mason, Charlotte Johnson.

Mr SPEAKER - Order.

Mr ROCKLIFF - Thank you, Mr Speaker. What is important, Dr Woodruff, is that we listen to our young people's voice. When it comes to our Child and Youth Wellbeing Strategy which was recently released, that was clearly evident. Young people had the opportunity to express their views across a range of matters, including environment and climate change and the issues that concern the young people.

Dr Woodruff - Number three and native forest logging. That is what they said, absolutely.

Mr SPEAKER - Order. Member for Franklin, is it impossible for you to listen to the answer? Member for Franklin, order. Please allow the minister to continue his answer.

Mr ROCKLIFF - A young people's voice informs that strategy and it is important to listen to young people's voices.

When I was minister for Education, there were climate change rallies across the state and we embraced that, as I did as minister for Education at the time, supporting our young people to express their views when it comes to the environment and climate change. Rallies were held. The only concerns were to ensure that we knew where the young people were so they were safe. Expressing their view and their voice on such critical matters as climate change and the environment is critically important.

It is also important that we offer a range of mental health service delivery and economic policy, that we offer them hope and the opportunity to have the aspiration to be well educated but also to get a job and contribute positively and productively to their community. There is nothing better to someone's own self-esteem and self-worth than making a positive contribution to their community.