Media Releases


November 14, 2019

The Morrison’s Government complete lack of engagement on health and climate change has left Australians at significant risk of illness and urgent national action is required to prevent harm and deaths, according to findings published in the Medical Journal of Australia.

Associate Professor Paul Beggs of Macquarie University’s Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences wrote, “As a direct result of this (Government’s) failure, we conclude that Australia remains at significant risk of declines in health due to climate change, and that substantial and sustained national action is urgently required in order to prevent this … This work is urgent.”

The Australian Medical Association has already formally declared climate change a health emergency this year pointing to “clear scientific evidence indicating severe impacts for our patients and communities now and into the future.”

Climate change and health challenges are intrinsically linked; the World Health Organisation has described climate change as “the defining health challenge of the 21st century.”

Australia’s health experts have already estimated that:

  • Heatwaves in Victoria in 2009 and 2014 contributed to 374 and 167 excess deaths respectively;
  • Climate change is increasing the likelihood of events such as the 2016 thunderstorm asthma event in Victoria, which caused a 3,000 per cent increase in asthma related admissions to intensive care; and
  • Reduced productivity due to extreme heat already costs the Australian economy over $8 billion annually and the economic losses and health risks will increase significantly as climate change impacts worsen.

This is why Labor took to the election a plan to develop Australia’s first National Framework on Climate Change and Health.

Yet the Morrison Government remains committed to ignoring growing calls for real action on climate change. They have no plan to cut emissions, no plan to adapt to climate impacts and no plan to safeguard Australians health.