Page 3375 - Week 10 - Wednesday, 19 October 2022
much-needed elective surgery! The reality is that last financial year more than three times that number of people were forced to wait longer than they should. It is a disgrace that a total of 1,364 sick people, people living in pain and waiting for much-needed surgery that will significantly improve the quality of life when they get that surgery, languish on waiting lists due to this government’s underfunding of our health system, which has resulted in the crisis we face today.
Climate change is a real concern and a challenge we all confront. A healthy environment is integral to a healthy life, but imposing additional regulatory burdens on our already broken and overstretched health system is not the best way to address these issues. This government has much work to do to fix a smorgasbord of problems in our broken and overstretched health system that is failing Canberrans. This has to be the top priority. We will not be opposing this motion today.
MS CLAY (Ginninderra) (6.02): I want to thank Mr Davis for bringing on this motion. It is a really important motion. I am conscious of the time today, so I am going to speak more briefly than I would have. It is ironic to be conscious of the time when we are talking about climate change, because I think most of us are feeling that the clock is running pretty fast on that one.
We have heard a lot about the health impacts of climate, and I do not need to go into that. I think it is really well understood and well proven. I just want to talk a bit about the biggest event that most of us lived through recently, which was the smoke event—the smokepocalypse—in the Black Summer fires. Thirty-one Canberrans died from that. That is a huge death count! We had a woman step off a plane in Canberra and drop dead on the tarmac. It was absolutely terrifying. That is the direct health impact of just one climate change event. We have no idea how many of those we are going to get. We have no idea what the long-term health effects are for our whole city for that whole summer when we could not breath.
I speak to a lot of women who work in sustainability, in climate, in activism and in recycling. It is good for us to catch up. We vibe; we feel this shared collective urgency. Inevitably, what happens whenever we are talking about whichever field we are working in, whatever progress in whatever we are trying to do, we always end up talking about the kids. We talk about my kid, we talk about your kid, we talk about all of the kids, the school strikers, because they are that next generation. I think in sustainability there is this fairly abstract notion of future generations. But when you put a face on that future generation, when it is the face of your child and you go home to her every night, it becomes a lot more real.
My daughter is eight years old, and she has never experienced a year of normal temperatures. She was born into a changed climate, and she will live for the rest of her life in a changed climate. She lived through that Black Summer with me. We went quite primal during that time. We had our little Fires Near Me app, to see if we needed to evacuate. We could not breathe. I brought her into the bedroom because I just did not feel comfortable. I thought we might not wake up. So we all moved into this tiny little world of fear. We became so, so conscious that we are part of our environment. There is no notion of human beings and the planet as if they are two separate things. We are part of our environment. If our environment is not healthy, we are not healthy. It is simply not possible to separate those two things. This is why the Greens