Australia's environmental track record is among the worst of all countries, write A/Professor Katherine Barraclough, Victorian Chair of DEA, and Fiona Armstrong, Executive Director of the Climate and Health Alliance. As our environmental laws undergo a once-in-a-decade review, health experts insist that environmental protections must be strengthened. Why? Human health is fundamentally dependent on the health of the natural world - for clean air, water and soils, food security, protection against infectious diseases and a stable climate. Nature is also the source of over half of all medicines we rely on.
This oped follows more than 180 health professionals and 19 health groups who last month published an open letter to federal Environment Minister Sussan Ley.
Signatories included Nobel laureate Professor Peter Doherty, former Australian of the Year Professor Fiona Stanley and nutritionist and dietician Dr Rosemary Stanton.
The letter- a joint initiative by Doctors for the Environment Australia and the Climate and Health Alliance - warned a failure to significantly reform Australia's environmental law, the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act (EPBC Act), will risk fuelling further public health crises.
Given the failure of the EPBC Act to date, it is unlikely that its flaws can be addressed by amendments alone.
DEA and CAHA are part of a broad alliance of environmental and health groups that have called for a new generation of environmental law, and new federal institutions to deliver it.
Read the full article which was published in the Canberra Times on 10 June 2020
DEA and CAHA met the Environment Minister Sussan Ley on 9 June 2020. They discussed the inextricable link between the environment and health, and the need to place the protection of nature front and centre of new environment laws.