A big budget win for the health sector after a decade of climate advocacy

Wednesday 26 October 2022

Investment in Australia’s first National Health and Climate Strategy is warmly welcomed by Australia’s peak body on climate and health, the Climate and Health Alliance (CAHA).

An initial $3.4 million has been assigned to making climate change a national health priority by establishing a National Health and Sustainability Climate Unit, and developing the National Health and Climate Strategy. 

“This investment is a very welcome start, and a big win for the health sector who have been crying out for federal leadership when it comes to climate,” said Mr Roland Sapsford, CEO of CAHA. 

“Members of the Climate and Health Alliance and other supportive health voices have been calling out for a National Health and Climate Strategy for a very long time,” said Mr Sapsford.

“This is a real milestone for collaborative, evidence-based advocacy and the work of the Climate and Health Alliance, our members and our supporters.” 

Last month, 40+ health leaders gathered at the Better, Healthier Futures Roundtable to discuss the early priorities for the national climate-health strategy, outlined in their joint statement. Health leaders also called for a Sustainable Healthcare Unit at a national level. This budget is an initial step to fund both these initiatives.

September’s Roundtable was the most recent example in a decade of advocacy from the Climate and Health Alliance and other health sector partners for a national strategy and serious action to decarbonise Australia’s health sector.

Mr Sapsford says the investment is a good start, but a lot more needs to be done.

“At least two people have died in the most recent flooding, on top of the 23 people who died in floods earlier this year in southeast Queensland and northern NSW. Hundreds died during the bushfires in 2019-20 and thousands are dying in our cities during extreme heat.

“We welcome recent acknowledgement from both Health and Climate Ministers that climate change is a pressing health issue. The evidence tells us the pressure on health from climate change, and the health benefits of climate action, are growing year on year.

“We look forward to continuing work with the Minister and the federal health department to ensure the Health and Climate Strategy drives the action Australia requires,” said Mr Sapsford.

Media contact: Remy Shergill, [email protected], 0423 075 895