Meeting health challenges

on climate change

The Federal Government has launched Australia’s first National Health and Climate Strategy that is aimed at ensuring our health system can meet the challenges of climate change.

6 December 2023

 

WITH more frequent and extreme climate events, climate change presents a serious health and wellbeing challenge to Australians. The World Health Organization has described climate change as the greatest threat to global health this century.

 

Assistant Minister for Health and Aged Care, Ged Kearney launched Australia’s first National Health and Climate Strategy at the 28th United Nations Climate Conference (COP28) in Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE). It sets out an ambitious whole-of-government plan aimed at addressing the health and wellbeing impacts of climate change and outlining priorities for reducing greenhouse gas emissions from the health system.

 

Assistant Minister for Health and Aged Care Ged Kearney said “With more frequent and extreme climate events, climate change is a serious challenge to the health of Australians. After a decade of inaction and dysfunction, we are taking decisive action to protect our health system.

 

“From extreme heat to more frequent bushfires, climate change is forever changing our environment and how we live. Australia needs a health system that is prepared for these challenges.

 

“Our National Strategy on Health and Climate lays the foundations for all of society to work together to address the impacts of climate change on Australians' health and wellbeing.

 

“We are working with other nations in addressing one of the most fundamental challenges facing the world. Part of this is reducing emissions from the health system – a key component of the National Strategy.

 

“As part of the National Strategy’s development, Labor consulted with First Nations groups to harness their wisdom and knowledge. Labor is committed to working with First Nations communities on the issues that affect them.

 

“Australia will work with international partners in addressing the impacts of climate change on our world’s health. I look forward to working with our friends and partners – including our Pacific neighbours – in the Alliance for Transformative Action on Health in the years ahead”.

 

The National Strategy brings together actions from across the Australian Government and partners around the world to set out an ambitious vision for healthy, climate-resilient communities, and a sustainable, resilient, high-quality, net zero health system.

 

The National Strategy incorporates feedback provided from over 270 submissions made by stakeholders in the health and aged care sectors, First Nations organisations, civil society groups, academia, and industry, as well as consultation from workshops and roundtables attended by more than 300 stakeholders.

 

Australia has endorsed the COP28 Declaration on Climate and Health to be released at the Climate-Health Ministerial and has joined the Alliance for Transformative Action on Health, which will provide more opportunities to exchange knowledge, coordinate access to climate finance and enhance cooperation on climate and health.

 

Read Australia’s first National Health and Climate Strategy here.

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