Health experts call for national strategy on climate change

A new report released today following an extensive national consultation with health and medical groups stakeholders has revealed deep concerns about federal government inaction on climate change. There is overwhelming support for national action to promote health and welfare of all Australians in the face of increased climate risks.

This report details the outcomes from consultation with Australia’s health stakeholders, including professional health and hospital groups, health leaders, academics, scientists, parliamentarians and policymakers during 2016.

Consultation revealed deepening concerns about climate change within the health community and the desire for federal leadership for urgent action.

Extensive consultations over several months, including a national survey, an online discussion forum and a health leaders roundtable, enabled Australia’s health sector to respond and input into the proposal for a national strategy, put forward in a discussion paper released in June 2016.

Senior health leaders, researchers, academics, policy professionals as well as doctors, nurses, midwives, public health practitioners and psychologists from peak bodies and unions were virtually unanimous (98%) in their support.

CAHA Executive Director and report co-author Fiona Armstrong said the findings revealed that health professionals and leaders of health groups are acutely aware of the link between climate change and health, and recognise Australia’s current climate polices put people’s health at risk as well as being inconsistent with our international obligations, including those under the Paris Agreement.

Ms Armstrong said: “The Australian health community is driven by a deep value commitment to help drive low carbon transition and see action on climate change as an opportunity to reduce serious and current threats to people’s health, as well as an opportunity to improve health through low carbon strategies.

“A National Strategy on Climate Health and Wellbeing for Australia will provide a pathway for action and a framework against which we will hold our leaders accountable. The health professions are saying they want to work with parliamentarians and political parties to make the strategy happen.”

Download a copy of the Final Consultation Report.

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