Healthy Futures and NSW Doctors for the Environment (DEA) are working together to create healthier homes and a healthier climate, free from polluting fossil fuels. Burning gas is driving climate change and putting Australians' health at risk. In NSW, we are calling on the government to end new gas connections and support households to transition to healthier energy solutions.
Gas is a significant source of energy for 7 out of 10 Australian homes, in NSW most often used for cooking and heating water. This is either through a reticulated network connection that provides misleadingly called natural gas or bottled gas. Around 5 million Australian households are connected to gas distribution networks.
Beyond the significant climate risk that burning gas contributes to, families in NSW face unacceptable physical health risks from having gas in their homes. Gas cooktops and heaters produce indoor air pollutants such as nitrogen dioxide, carbon monoxide, and benzene that can increase the risk of asthma, exacerbate chronic illnesses and even cause death. A child living with gas cooking in their home faces a similar risk of asthma to a child living with household cigarette smoke. Indoor gas has been estimated to be responsible for up to 12% of childhood asthma in Australia.
The good news is there are alternatives available right now that are cheaper, healthier and better for our climate. By transitioning to renewable-powered, energy-efficient appliances, households can reduce power bills, carbon emissions and toxic air pollution.
While many homeowners can implement these changes, the NSW Government must protect all households and create mechanisms to support low-income earners.
What are we doing?
Just as health workers led campaigns against tobacco, they can also help transition to gas-free homes.
Doctors, nurses, psychologists and other health professionals are best placed to advocate for people’s physical and mental well-being. By having informed and active health workers who use compelling images and stories and are motivated to take part in public actions, we can erode the social licence of gas and reframe it as the health and climate threat it is.
We're calling on the NSW Government to ban new gas connections in homes and to provide assistance to low-income households to transition to electric alternatives.
Some of our campaign activities will include:
- Educating, empowering and organising health workers to become spokespeople for gas-free homes
- Researching the health impacts of gas in homes and advocating for renewable energy solutions
- Collaborating with health, environmental and social organisations to build a coalition that advocates for Healthy Homes and a Healthy Climate
- Lobbying the Government to bans new gas connections as soon as possible
- Advocating for equity so that low-income earners do not bear the brunt of expensive and dangerous gas appliances and are supported to transition to healthier alternatives
What can you do?
- If you are based in NSW & work or study in health or community services, please sign our open letter here to the NSW Energy & Climate Change Minister
- If you're not in health, you can still help us build awareness and share our work with colleagues and friends in NSW
- If you are in Victoria please send an email to the Health Minister here asking for hospitals go all-electric and get off gas
Please get in touch if you'd like to be involved.
Key organisational signatories: