Climate change a health priority: Labor

The effects of climate change must be treated as a health priority alongside cancer and diabetes, Labor frontbencher Chris Bowen says.

In a speech to be delivered in Sydney on Wednesday night, Mr Bowen will point to estimates that 250,000 people a year will die as a direct result of global warming by 2030.

“Natural disasters are already occurring more regularly,” he says.


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“Vector borne diseases will become more prevalent and widespread. Heat waves, which already claim many lives in Australia will be more common and more severe.”

Mr Bowen says Labor will make the policy change if it wins government, but is calling on Health Minister Greg Hunt to act sooner.

He says the UK’s National Health Service has a sustainable development strategy and several European countries have identified health as a priority area in their climate change adaption strategies.

“This is despite the fact we are more exposed than most, and our medical community is increasingly vocal on the issue,” Mr Bowen says.

“In my six months so far as shadow minister for health I’ve been struck by the number of clinicians and medicos who’ve wanted to talk to me about the health impacts of climate change what can be done about it.

“As one senior doctor put it to me powerfully recently, ‘Doctors listen to the science of the climate change and its health impacts like we listen to the science of vaccination and the impacts of not vaccinating. They are as clear as each other, and ignoring the science of climate change would be akin to supporting anti-vaxxers’.”

© AAP 2019