Media Release: Health Workers Take Action at State Parliament
Wednesday 21 September, Melbourne
At 12.30pm today, doctors, nurses and health workers will assemble at Victoria’s Parliament House, on the last sitting day before the election, to demand a strong renewable energy commitment from the government and opposition.
The health group is delivering an open letter signed by prominent health bodies such as the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP), The Royal Australasian College of Surgeons (RACS) and The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Ophthalmologists (RANZCO) and over 200 health care workers. The letter is calling for a bipartisan commitment to 100% renewable energy by 2030 to protect Victorians’ health.
Dressed in medical gear and holding public health messages and renewable energy props, the professionals are highlighting the health benefits of switching to renewable energy.
“Climate change is a health emergency, and the most critical preventative health intervention is wide scale decarbonization. As Australia’s largest representative body for general practitioners in Australia, the RACGP is joining calls for bipartisan commitment from the Victorian Government and Opposition to support a policy of 100% renewable energy for Victoria by 2030. This is a step in the right direction, but we must act now,” Anita Muñoz, Victorian Chair of the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP).
2030 is the latest that fossil fuels should be used for stationary energy if we are to avoid the huge climate-related health impacts predicted, and to reduce exposure to toxic pollutants. It also presents an opportunity to address health inequities.
“The pollution from burning coal isn’t just an environmental problem, it’s a health and a gender problem. Women bear the burden of climate inaction. As a doctor, I support the immediate switch to cleaner sources of energy that will reduce the health risks women face such as higher rates of obstetric complications from air pollutants”, Magdalena Simonis, President of the Australian Federation of Medical Women.
Latrobe Valley Mental Health Nurse, Veronique Hamilton adds, “Through bushfires, floods and storms, I have seen the devastating impacts personally and professionally that climate change has had on my own community. The Gippsland community needs hope for a better future but for that to happen we need certainty about the transition ahead and that decisions are being made with the best interests of the community at heart.”
The state election provides a clear opportunity for the government and opposition to make a commitment to 100% renewables by 2030, keeping up with the ACT, South Australia and Tasmania who have this target in place.
Open letter: www.healthyfutures.net.au/cleanenergyvic
Photos and Videos: © Julian Meehan / Healthy Futures (available after 12.45pm) https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1ppHj_4kO4Z_21Oclz09A4A5DWjwR448W?usp=sharingMedia Enquiries: Ursula Alquier 0474 803 740, Kristen McDonald 0468 861 345