11 May 2022
The election campaign continues to overlook some of the most significant challenges our country faces – which are addressing climate change and bolstering our healthcare system.
The RACP wants major parties to commit to a national climate and health strategy – something that medical colleges have been calling on the Government to do for months now.
A national climate and health strategy would address emissions in the healthcare sector and also prepare the health system for the impacts of climate change on our population.
RACP President Professor John Wilson says “The healthcare sector currently contributes approximately 7% of Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions – and physicians and paediatricians want to see a plan from major political parties to bring this to zero.
“Climate change represents the biggest threat to the Australian healthcare system – and we need a plan to urgently address this.
“Australia needs to get to net zero emissions, so we need to have a plan for how the healthcare system is going to go green.
“Climate change and the healthcare system presents a dual challenge. That is, preparing the healthcare system for the impacts of climate change on our population – while also reducing the emissions that the healthcare system is producing.
“It’s clear we need a national plan for climate and health. This should include investment in a climate innovation fund to drive local projects to reduce emissions in healthcare and build capacity and capability at scale.
“These projects could include energy efficiency in hospitals; phasing out anaesthetic gases which have high emissions; and significantly reducing hospital waste. Federal investment in these projects will reduce emissions, drive innovation and develop the capacity to deploy technology at scale to reach net zero.
“We want to see commitments from all political parties to reduce the emissions in the healthcare system. We need this to be part of a wider commitment to a National Climate and Health strategy.
"If the incoming Government cares about the health of our climate and the health of our population and generations to come - they must get serious about addressing climate change. We have lost enough time to address this.”
Authorised by Peter McIntyre, CEO, The Royal Australasian College of Physicians, 145 Macquarie Street, Sydney, NSW, 2000