The National Rural Health Alliance, the peak body for rural and remote health in Australia, said that the Bureau of Meteorology’s 2019 Annual Climate Statement – that shows 2019 was both the hottest and driest year on record for Australia – highlights the urgent need for a climate and health strategy and immediate action to reduce carbon emissions.
“The Bureau of Meteorology report today shows that the country is getting warmer and hotter at unprecedented levels,” said National Rural Health Alliance CEO Dr Gabrielle O’Kane.
“It’s also a timely reminder that climate and health are inextricably linked and that public health policy needs to consider the effects of climate change.
“We know that climate change affects everyone but that rural Australians are often hit the hardest. The fires that are still impacting so much of rural Australia are a devastating reminder of that.
“Rural Australians are more likely to be exposed to extreme weather events and the physical and mental health effects that come from bushfire and drought.
“Issues like food insecurity, water scarcity and the spread of disease are all made worse by climate change and all hit rural Australia particularly hard.”
“Now should be the time to take urgent action to tackle climate change and the first step should be the creation of a climate and health strategy, in consultation with experts.”
The Bureau of Meteorology’s 2019 Annual Climate Statement is available here.
The Alliance’s position statement on climate and health is available here.