Indian-origin teen prepares for a court battle with Australian minister

Anjali Sharma (Anj), a 16-year-old climate change activist, is all geared up to fight a legal battle against the Commonwealth Minister for the Environment.

In her statement, she observed:

“Every consecutive summer is labelled ‘the worst summer this country has ever faced’, and yet instead of addressing this crisis more mines are being given the green light. This has to stop and I am proud to be doing something to help stop it.”

She is a year 11 student at the Huntingtower School in Melbourne’s east and is involved with the environmental action group School Strike for Climate.

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Eight young people from around Australia, represented by Equity Generation Lawyers, and with the assistance of 86 year-old litigation guardian Sister Brigid Arthur, are bringing a class action against the Federal Minister for the Environment.

The case – Anjali Sharma & others v Minister for Environment – was filed on 8 September 2020. 

The trial in this landmark case commences 10:15am on Tuesday, 2 March 2021 (Melbourne time).

According to Equity Generation Lawyers’ webpage:

“Our clients argue that the Minister has a duty to protect young people from the devastating impacts of climate change and that allowing the Vickery Extension Project to be built would breach that duty. They are asking the Court to grant an injunction to prevent the Minister from doing so.”

A spokesperson for the Environment Minister told media that the government would not comment while the matter was before the courts.

The Minister filed her Concise Statement in Response, effectively a defence, on 29 October 2020.

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The applicants finalised their evidence in December 2020. The Minister did not file any evidence.

The five-day trial will determine the future of the proposed Vickery open-cut coal mine extension in NSW. 

Anjali Sharma’s message on her lawyer’s webpage notes:

” I will stand for the millions of people with similar stories to tell and similar experiences, who will be put in danger if this mine goes ahead, and together we will do our best to bring this climate-wrecking project to the ground.”

People can live stream the trial from anywhere in the world at the following link.