Health professionals call for Greg Hunt to protect children’s health in a changing climate, as Zali Steggall moves a motion in the House


Doctors will today gather at Parliament House, Canberra, to deliver Greg Hunt thousands of pledges from major medical colleges and health professionals demanding urgent action on climate change for the sake of our children. Inside Parliament, Zali Steggall OAM MP will move a motion that supports No Time For Games, a national children's campaign by DEA. The motion, seconded by Helen Haines MP, recognises that human-induced climate change is one of the biggest and most urgent health threats to children, and urges the government to decarbonise by 2050 to reduce the intensity and occurrence of extreme weather events. 
  • The event will take place from 9:00 to 9:45am on Monday 16 September, front lawns of Parliament House, Canberra. Photos of doctors in scrubs and children, as well as interview opportunities will be available from 9:15am to 9:45am. Speakers include Senior Australian of the Year 2019 and Paediatrician Dr Sue Packer OA, as well as Mark Butler MP, Helen Haines MP, Zali Steggall MP and Andrew Wilkie MP
  •  The pledges have been endorsed by The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP), The Royal Australasian College of Physicians (RACP), the Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine (ACRRM), the Australasian College of Sport and Exercise Physicians (ACSEP) and the Australian Medical Students’ Association (AMSA), and more than 2000 health professionals, including Professor Fiona Stanley AC.                                                                                                                                                                                      

DEA will deliver the signatures to Health Minister Greg Hunt’s office at Parliament House even if he is not available to meet them. 

Says DEA spokesperson Dr Ingo Weber, who has been leading the No Time for Games campaign, “The health voice is united in demanding an urgent plan to protect our children from the climate health emergency which the AMA declared only recently. 

“Climate change exposes children to greater risk of respiratory illness, increases in childhood emergency department visits for asthma, fever, gastroenteritis and heat stroke. 

 “Also, more frequent extreme weather events place them at risk of physical injury and psychological trauma. Children’s bodies and minds are still developing. Long after the fires have gone the mental scars remain. 

 “Climate change impacts has seen our emergency services overwhelmed, and it’s evident that we need to be better resourced and prepared for the health impacts. 

“Only last week, we saw unseasonal fires rage across Queensland, we have ongoing record-breaking drought threatening the water security of country towns and the livelihood of farmers and rural communities, while historically stable ecosystems such as the Murray-Darling, the rainforests of Queensland and the Great Barrier Reef are exposed to the harsh reality of climate change. Continued warming may mean that these critical life-supporting systems may never recover. 

“As doctors we see the stark consequences of climate change and we are at the frontline of the emergency response. 

“We want the Minister for Health Greg Hunt to hear our concerns and push for urgent and bold action to avoid catastrophic warming. Our children have a right to a liveable planet and a healthy future.” 

 Media contact: 

 Dr Ingo Weber, No Time for Games lead organiser

Dr Arnagretta Hunter (cardiologist based in Canberra) 

Dr Kim Loo, (Sydney GP)

 Doctors for the Environment Australia Media and Communications Coordinator, Carmela Ferraro, 0410 703 074 

Resources:

Climate Change & Health Fact Sheet

No Time for Games-It's to Act! Children's Health and Climate Change Summary Report Update 2018

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 Committee of distinguished health experts: Prof Stephen Boyden AM, Prof Emeritus Chris Burrell AO, 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 


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