Leading health groups call on government to address climate health impacts in National Preventive Health Strategy

Over 30 health groups today released a Joint Statement calling on the federal government to address climate change in the National Preventive Health Strategy, which is currently in development. The Strategy’s Consultation Paper does not include climate change in its six focus areas, nor even mention “climate change”.

The groups include: Climate and Health Alliance (CAHA), Public Health Association of Australia (PHAA), Australian Health Promotion Association (AHPA), Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation (ANMF), Consumers Health Forum of Australia, Australian Healthcare and Hospitals Association (AHHA) and the Australian Association of Social Workers (AASW). See the full list of signatories in the Joint Statement here or below. 

The joint statement says: “A National Preventive Health Strategy that is fit for purpose in the 21st century must address climate change - or it will fail in its objectives.

“The negative health impacts of climate change range from impacts on every human organ system, to disruption of the healthcare supply chain, damage to health infrastructure and threats to the safety and quality of care.”

The Strategy’s Consultation Paper is open for feedback until 28 September.

For interviews, contact Vai - 0452 290 082 / vai@climatemediacentre.org.au

Comments:

Climate and Health Alliance Executive Director Fiona Armstrong:

“Climate change poses the biggest threat to health this century. The  National Preventive Health Strategy must tackle climate change to protect and promote health. If we don’t, everything else risks being done for nought.

“If the government chooses to ignore the health impacts of climate change, they are refusing to prevent that thousands more Australians will suffer from infectious disease, cardiovascular disease, respiratory illness, heat stress, mental illness, violence, food insecurity, poor water quality and poorer nutrition.”

Media contact: Vaidehi Shah, 0452 290 082

Public Health Association of Australia Chief Executive Officer Terry Slevin:

“A national strategy that is targeting the prevention of illness in the Australian population is a key platform through which to highlight the urgent need for climate action - especially in Australia which is particularly vulnerable to the effects of climate change such as extreme weather events and drought."

"The health impacts caused by climate change are far-reaching and of great concern, whether we are talking about increasing bushfires and heatwaves or disrupted food and water supplies; we can’t have a healthy population without a healthy planet.”

Media contact: Karina Martin, 0450 522 762

Consumers Health Forum CEO Leanne Wells:

“Australia’s political leadership needs to ensure that the health and interests of consumers and the community prevail.  Policy on climate and health should be guided by science first and foremost as we have largely seen happen with the pandemic. Why should our response to climate change be any different?”

Media contact: Mark Metherell, 0429 111 986

Australian Health Promotion Association President Dr Gemma Crawford:

“We welcome a national blueprint for prevention. But our collective efforts will be undermined if we fail to recognise the impacts of climate change – the biggest threat to the health of our families, communities and planet.

“Building capacity to implement measures to reduce health vulnerability to climate change is critical.”

Media contact: Gemma Crawford, 0411 777 795

Full list of signatories:

  1. Climate and Health Alliance
  2. Australian Association of Social Workers
  3. Australasian Epidemiological Association
  4. Australian Health Promotion Association
  5. Australian Healthcare and Hospitals Association
  6. Australian, New Zealand and Asian Creative Arts Therapies Association
  7. Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation (national)
  8. Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation (Victorian branch)
  9. Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation (South Australian branch)
  10. Australian Psychological Society
  11. Australasian Society of Lifestyle Medicine
  12. Children's Healthcare Australasia
  13. cohealth
  14. ConNetica
  15. Consumers Health Forum of Australia
  16. CRANAplus
  17. Department of Nutrition, Dietetics & Food, Monash University
  18. Dietitians Australia
  19. Doctors for the Environment Australia
  20. Doctors Reform Society
  21. Gender and Disaster Pod
  22. Greensong
  23. Health Nature Sustainability Research Group, Deakin University
  24. HSU Victoria No. 4 Branch
  25. Kooweerup Regional Health Service
  26. Lighter Footprints
  27. Medical Scientists Association of Victoria
  28. Public Health Association of Australia
  29. Social Workers for Climate Action
  30. Women’s Healthcare Australasia
  31. Women’s Health in the North
  32. Australian Institute of Health Innovation, Macquarie University
  33. Chronic Illness Alliance

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Media contact

Mark Metherell

Em.metherell@chf.org.au
T:  02 6273 5444 
M: 0429 111 986