Dear Colleague,

I am writing to you as South Australia’s inaugural Commissioner for Children and Young People, an independent statutory position established under the Children and Young People (Oversight and Advocacy Bodies) Act 2016 (SA).

My role includes advocating for systemic changes to policies, programs and practices that impact the rights, development and wellbeing of children and young people in South Australia. My work is directly informed and guided by children and young people’s voices and experiences.

In my role as their Commissioner, I am sending you an Open Letter to the Australian delegates attending COP 27 on behalf of South Australia’s Children and Young People on the eve of COP 27.

This Open Letter came out of the Youth Climate Workshop I undertook on Tuesday 18 October with 28 young South Australians aged 13 to 18 years. The workshop began with a series of presentations made by six expert panellists on the challenges and opportunities related to climate change, each with a focus on different levels: national, state, community, school and individual.

During the workshop, young people shared their vision for a positive future and discussed what needs to happen to make this vision a reality. This included exploring what existing attitudes, behaviours, policies and practices need to change and what needs to be preserved or scaled up in order to achieve this vision.

In addition to the workshop, 184 teenagers completed a survey on their understanding of climate change, the actions they are aware their schools are taking in response to the issue, and what more they think could be done.

As well as being informed by the young people who participated in this recent workshop and survey, it also honours conversations I have had with thousands of children and young people across South Australia over the last five years.

To complement the Open Letter read the backgrounder and watch the summary video accessed via the buttons below:


Yours sincerely,

Helen Connolly
Commissioner for Children and Young People
Adelaide, South Australia