Equity and climate change

Climate change will affect every Australian and many of its impacts are likely to hit low-income households hardest. Older people, infants and people with disability are particularly at risk during heatwaves, for example, which are predicted to become more frequent and severe in south-eastern Australia.


Along with the direct impacts of climate change, many households are facing difficulties due to higher energy bills. Few can afford to invest in efficient home appliances or solar power systems that will cut their energy costs. Renters face even greater hurdles to energy efficiency. This means that as energy prices go up, the people least able to adjust will see their standard of living reduced even further unless assistance measures are put in place.

Many low-income households are underinsured, making them more vulnerable to losses from extreme weather events like storms or floods. And in communities that rely heavily on jobs in industries that are vulnerable to the economic restructuring that climate change will require, such as the closing of coal-fired power stations, people's livelihoods may be at risk. This makes climate change not just an important environmental issue, but also a vital social issue.

To ensure that low-income Australians are protected from the impacts of climate change and that our responses to it do not increase social inequality, Australian governments must take action.

What we're doing

The Brotherhood of St Laurence has been at the forefront of research into the potential effects of climate change on low-income people and communities. This is enabling us to work with governments, businesses and environmental organisations to devise socially equitable solutions.

Our current focus is on:

More on our work in this area is available at Research: Energy, Equity and Climate Change.

The Brotherhood of St Laurence (BSL) acknowledges and understands its obligations under the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and recognises that all children and young people have the right to be treated with respect and care, and to be safe from all forms of abuse. BSL has a zero tolerance towards child abuse.
Read the official statement signed by the Executive Director.

The Brotherhood recognises the harm that family violence causes and that freedom from violence is a basic human right.
We will support our staff, volunteers, clients and the community if they experience violence.

Find out more about the work of the Brotherhood
Australian Aboriginal flag, a yellow circle on two horizontal black and red stripes

The Brotherhood of St Laurence acknowledges and recognises the Traditional Owners of the land upon which we live and work, and we pay our respects to their Elders both past and present.

Torres Strait Islander flag, an icon of a traditional headdress on blue, black and green stripes