The Climate and Health Alliance has published a submission in response to the Draft National Preventive Health Strategy.
CAHA acknowledged that the draft Strategy is an improvement on the earlier iterations which contained no reference to climate change at all. However, the main pathway to addressing it appears to be via a proposed national environmental health strategy, which is to be developed by 2030.
2030 is far too long to wait to act on what is a current, escalating threat of human health and wellbeing, which risks massive ecosystem and societal collapse in the latter part of this century.
CAHA recommends the taskforce to put a much stronger emphasis on climate change in the Strategy. Strategies to prevent morbidity and mortality from climate change-related health risks must be included in the Strategy, and there must be funded programs and initiatives to reduce risks and prevent harm. There must be actions outlined (and funded programs to deliver) associated with climate-related health risks under each of the seven ‘enablers’ in the Strategy.
Climate change should be mentioned in the "Immediate Priorities". None of the currently listed immediate priorities will be able to prevent declining health outcomes, increasing mortality and morbidity, and unprecedented human suffering. Mental health risks associated with climate change is also ignored in the Strategy - there is no mention of this, and no policies or programs proposed to address it.
The Strategy should tackle the upstream drivers of ill-health in the seven focus areas, include evaluation or monitoring of climate-related health risks, and develop a more urgent timeline for action.