Page 908 - Week 03 - Thursday, 7 April 2022
It would be remiss not to also acknowledge that World Health Day has taken on a whole new meaning amidst the current pandemic. In recent years we have all been required to consider our health, and that of our communities, in a way we have never had to before. We have been required to consider how our actions affect not only our own health but that of our family, friends and neighbours.
The public health directions of this government have been fundamental in keeping our community healthy. I commend everyone in our community for doing their part to stay at home when required, isolate and quarantine, test, get vaccinated and maintain social distancing.
In closing, I encourage all Canberrans to take some time today to consider where, on a sliding scale, they consider their personal health currently sits, and to consider any actions they might be able to take to improve their own health by also considering what they can do to improve the health of our environment. Thank you.
MS DAVIDSON (Murrumbidgee—Assistant Minister for Families and Community Services, Minister for Disability, Minister for Justice Health, Minister for Mental Health and Minister for Veterans and Seniors) (11.37): I rise to support this executive motion in support of the World Health Day theme Our Planet, Our Health, and I thank Minister Stephen-Smith for bringing this matter to this place.
It is clear that the health and wellbeing of people and planet are closely interlinked. Climate change is a health issue as much as an environmental issue, as Minister Stephen-Smith discussed earlier. The World Health Day theme of Our Planet, Our Health serves to remind us that more can be done to mitigate the impacts of climate change and adapt to these impacts locally, nationally and globally.
The ACT government has been preparing for climate change by adopting a variety of policy responses, including the ACT Climate Change Strategy 2019-25 and Canberra’s Living Infrastructure Plan: Cooling the City. These strategies focus on actions which set us up to adapt to and mitigate the effects of climate change in the territory.
The health impacts of climate change are tangible and significant. These include respiratory and health disease, mental illness, allergies, injuries, food poisoning and poor nutrition, and are just some of the ways that a change in climate affects us all.
Growing up, I saw firsthand what happens when you live in an inhospitable environment; when your primary source of fresh food is what you can grow, but there is no water to keep the garden alive; when your dad uses a bulldozer to dig a mass grave for the livestock he has to shoot before they die of dehydration because there is no market to sell them; and when every kid at your school has got three different kinds of cooties at once because every family is re-using the same bathwater for the whole household and they are having to buy clean drinking water from other towns.
If I close my eyes and just think about it for a moment, I can still taste the bitterness in the back of my throat from the tablets for gastro, because when your water tank gets