Our Work Climate Change Media release: Doctors slam the Morrison Government’s decision to reject Steggall’s climate bill

Media release: Doctors slam the Morrison Government’s decision to reject Steggall’s climate bill

Australia’s doctors are dismayed that the Morrison Government has rejected Zali Steggall’s climate change bill, which was tabled today, despite the need to protect public health from the deadly consequences of global heating.

Medical group Doctors for the Environment Australia spokesperson, Dr Richard Yin says, “The report was both reasonable and had widespread support across all sectors of the community.

“Climate change is a major public health problem which is causing illness,  hospitalisations, and deaths. 

“Australians have witnessed or experienced the record-breaking summer of bushfires and toxic bushfire smoke along the east coast, and only recently Victorian communities were battered  by unusually severe floods, wild winds and power outages that lasted weeks.

Analysis  has shown the Pacific northwest areas of the U.S. and Canada experienced temperatures that would’ve been “virtually impossible” without the influence of climate change. 

“What is happening here and overseas  has got to be a wake-up call for  our leaders to take action. If they fail to act now, we risk dangerous tipping points which will be difficult to manage.

“More lives will be lost, our physical and mental health burden will increase, water and food security will be at risk,  there will be more mosquito-borne diseases, some areas of Australia will likely be uninhabitable, and there will be more damage to  our  oceans, land, air quality  and the ecosystems that support all life.

“Vulnerable populations such as children, pregnant women, the elderly and those with chronic diseases will be disproportionately impacted.”

The Steggall climate action bill  includes:

• An emissions target plan 

• A national adaptation plan, so that we know  the risks of climate change and can prepare for them

• An independent commission to  advise the Government

Adopting the bill will see Australia join other countries with effective climate laws, including the United Kingdom, Germany, France, and New Zealand.

“These are the critical years for action,” says Dr Yin.  “Some 99.9% of the 6500 submissions received to the inquiry by the Environment and Energy Committee called for more ambitious emissions reduction policy and risk assessment and adaptation planning to the impacts of climate change.

“The case for a united, bipartisan, whole-of-government support for a climate plan that will do its fair share of heavy lifting to ensure a liveable world has never been clearer.

“It is time to end the politics and come together to protect the health and wellbeing of all Australians.”

Media contacts

For interviews with Dr Richard Yin, please contact DEA’s Media and Communications Coordinator Carmela Ferraro  on 0410 703 074

Resources

DEA’s submission to the Climate Change (National Framework for Adaptation and Mitigation) Bills 2020

Climate change and health in Australia fact sheet

About DEA

DEA is an independent organisation of medical doctors protecting health through care of the environment http://dea.org.au

We are supported by a Scientific Advisory Committee of distinguished health experts: Prof Stephen Boyden AM, Prof Emeritus Chris Burrell AO, Prof Colin Butler, Prof Peter Doherty AC, Prof Michael Kidd AM, Prof David de Kretser AC, Prof Stephen Leeder AO, Prof Ian Lowe AO, Prof Robyn McDermott, Prof Lidia Morawska, Prof Peter Newman AO, Prof Emeritus Sir Gustav Nossal AC, Prof Hugh Possingham, Prof Lawrie Powell AC, Prof Fiona Stanley AC, Dr Rosemary Stanton OAM, Dr Norman Swan