Minister warns kids: protest on your own time

THOUSANDS of Brisbane kids will ditch school and swarm the city today to call for government action on climate change, as part of a global movement.

But Education Minister Grace Grace has urged students to protest "in their own time", rather than skipping class during regular school hours.

A number of unions including the Australian Education Union and the National Tertiary Education Union have endorsed the School Strike 4 Climate actions, which have been inspired in part by teenage Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg.

Across the globe more than one million people were predicted to attend thousands of similar strikes ahead of the United Nations Climate Summit to be held next week.

Meanwhile more than 2000 businesses have pledged to support their workers attending, including multi-billion dollar software giant Atlassian and mattress company Koala.

Students (from left) Millicent Biggs, Sara McKoy and Gina Vana will take part in the climate strike. Picture: AAP Image/Richard Walker
Students (from left) Millicent Biggs, Sara McKoy and Gina Vana will take part in the climate strike. Picture: AAP Image/Richard Walker

Strikes are planned for about ten locations across Queensland from the far north to the Gold Coast, with the 12.30pm Brisbane's CBD protest from Queens Park expected to attract as many as 20,000 people.

Minister Grace said while she respected the students' desire to call attention to climate change issues, she would prefer the strikes were not held during the school day.

"Education is important and should come first," she said.

"Should they choose to participate, it should be a personal decision and parental permission is essential."

Today's event follows a similar School Strike 4 Climate action in March, which saw 10,000 students and adults march through Brisbane's CBD.

Gap State High School student Gina Hale, 16, will be among those missing the final day of term to protest.

She said it was a "small sacrifice" to get the attention of politicians and "show them we want climate justice".

"I listen and pay attention in school," she said.

"We are learning about the harmful impacts of climate change in school, we are seeing it happen here in Queensland, yet nothing is being done about it by our politicians."

Kenmore State High School student and group organiser Sara McKoy, 17, said many of those planning to attend were in Year 12, which she said emphasised their willingness to miss crucial school time to "advocate for our future".

 



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