Page 3369 - Week 10 - Wednesday, 19 October 2022

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MS STEPHEN-SMITH (Kurrajong—Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs, Minister for Families and Community Services and Minister for Health) (5.45): I am pleased to rise today to speak to the motion brought on by Mr Davis, on the impact that climate change is having, and will have, on our community’s health and wellbeing. It is a good opportunity to talk about how our health system is positioned to respond now and into the future.

Mr Davis’s motion continues the vital debate on climate change and health care that we had when debating my executive motion on 7 April, in recognition of World Health Day, with its theme for this year: Our Planet, Our Health. Noting that a lot of the information will in fact be similar given the subject matter, I encourage members to also review the Hansard of that debate, which is directly relevant to the motion we are considering today.

But new things have happened, as well—most notably, the election of a new commonwealth Labor government that is committed to real action on climate change, including as it relates to health. In that context, I move my amendment:

Omit all text after part (2)(f), substitute:

“(g) on 7 April 2022, the Minister for Health moved an executive motion in the ACT Legislative Assembly noting World Health Day and its 2022 theme of “Our planet, our health” and the work the ACT Government is progressing to respond to the impact of climate change on our community and health system;

(h) the ACT Government has been investigating formal participation in the World Health Organisation’s Alliance for Transformative Action on Climate and Health, which is working to realise the ambition set at COP26 to build climate resilient and sustainable health systems, and the Minister for Health participated in an associated Health Leadership Roundtable on Climate Action on 29 June 2022;

(i) the Albanese Government committed to developing Australia’s first National Climate Health Strategy and make climate health a national health priority, ahead of the 2022 Federal Election;

(j) On 1 July 2022 at the first Health Ministers’ meeting with the new federal Labor Health Minister, the Hon Mark Butler MP, Minister Stephen-Smith raised the importance of responding collaboratively and nationally to the challenge climate change presents to public health and Australia’s health system; and

(k) on 3 August 2022, Minister Butler publicly confirmed that the Albanese Government has commenced early work on developing a National Climate Health Strategy in collaboration with state and territory governments; and

(3) calls on the ACT Government to:

(a) continue delivering the ACT Climate Change Strategy 2019-2025 and the Bushfire Smoke and Air Quality Strategy 2020-2025 to ensure that public health services and the community are prepared for the impacts of climate change;

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