Government bushfire response must include urgent and real climate action

Wednesday 08 January 2020

With communities across Australia continuing to reel from ongoing catastrophic bushfires and deadly heatwaves, the Climate and Health Alliance today has called on the Federal and State governments to work together to act on climate change in order to help protect people’s health.

“We are deeply saddened at the tragic loss of life and the devastation of communities from the catastrophic bushfires burning across our beautiful country,” Climate and Health Alliance Executive Director Fiona Armstrong said.

“The loss of more than 20 lives and those of over half a billion animals is heartbreaking, as well as the loss of the extraordinary Australian ecology and flora.

“The conditions that emergency services, firefighters and affected communities have been forced to confront are terrifying. We are all in debt to those working to protect life and property, and to care for those injured in these terrible events.

“We are saddened but we are also angry. These unprecedented bushfires and heatwaves have been predicted, and governments warned about them, for decades.

“These conditions are exactly what we expect from the failure of successive governments to enact appropriate policies and show leadership on climate change.

“The health sector is not fooled, nor are we consoled, by the Federal government's untrue assertions that they are adequately acting on climate change.

"The health sector will no longer tolerate platitudes and outright falsities when it comes to climate action in Australia. We are calling it out and continue to call for urgent real solutions to worsening climate change.

"The Australian health sector proactively developed a Framework for a National Strategy for Climate, Health and Well-being. The Federal government is yet to acknowledge, let alone act on, this guidance despite it being released in 2017.

"The health sector is also leading by example by embracing the Global Green and Healthy Hospitals network, with over one thousand member institutions across Australia, working to cut their emissions and adopt more sustainable healthcare practices.

"To date, neither of these initiatives have received any government assistance.

"Climate change is a health emergency. Lives have been put at risk, and lives have been lost, through government inaction on climate change. Ongoing inaction is not an option.”

For those wishing to offer support for the communities and animals affected by the bushfires, you can make a donation to one of the following charities:

Media contact: Adam Pulford, 0424 885 387