A number of peak health bodies are demanding that all political parties state what they plan to do to protect people from the worsening effects of climate change.
In the lead up to the July 2 election, the Climate and Health Alliance (CAHA), comprising about 30 health groups, including the Australian College of Nursing and the Australian Nursing Federation, has distributed surveys to the Liberal Party, The Nationals, the Australian Labor Party, The Greens, the Democratic Liberal Party and the Nick Xenophon Party.
Among other issues, the survey assesses political support for the creation of a national climate and health strategy, greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets and phasing out of coal and unconventional gas mining, as well as a national moratorium on new mines.
The responses received will be compared on a scorecard that will be distributed to thousands of voting health professionals across Australia.
CAHA president Dr Liz Hanna said the health sector is already under immense pressure, and increasing heatwaves, fires, floods and storms will place even greater demand on frontline, acute and community health services.
Hanna said: “We are the ones responsible for looking after people who become injured, sick and traumatised – and we are seeking assurances from all political parties that they are doing everything they can to protect people.”
CAHA executive director Fiona Armstrong said: “In places like the United States, there are long-term and detailed plans and preparations underway to support the healthcare sector and protect people’s health from the adverse effects of climate change. Yet in Australia, there is a significant lack of policy direction and leadership from most political parties. It’s just not good enough.”
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