RACP calls for solution on electricity disconnections in remote areas – reports of lives at risk

1 March 2022

The Royal Australasian College of Physicians is calling on the Northern Territory Government to urgently meet with Indigenous peak bodies and other organisations as part of the local emergency response, following reports of repeated electricity disconnections impacting Indigenous communities.

Professor Ngiare Brown, Chair of the RACP Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Committee says “We are deeply concerned about reports that there are remote Indigenous communities that have had their electricity repeatedly disconnected.

“Extreme temperatures and energy insecurity poses real risks to individual and community wellbeing.

“Electricity is a basic living requirement.

“Reports say that many remote communities are experiencing extreme heat conditions without access to air conditioning to maintain a safe temperature indoors.

“These reports are particularly concerning for communities who are isolating indoors due to COVID-19 outbreaks, where the need for electricity is critical.

“Some of these communities are already having to put up with poor quality and overcrowded housing. To add in extreme heat and electricity disconnections is a recipe for serious health problems.

“Residents with complex and chronic health conditions are at increased risk from heat stroke and rely on refrigerated medicines and technology such as dialysis machines.

“As a matter of urgency, the Northern Territory Government needs to work with communities, peak health bodies, Aboriginal Community Controlled Services, and energy providers to find immediate solutions to this public health priority.

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