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Environment, Government VIC

Today: Health experts ask Vic Government to help households get off gas

Healthy Futures 3 mins read

Healthcare workers will gather today on the steps of Parliament to ask Victorian Minister for Climate Action Lily D’Ambrosio to support Victorians to switch from gas to renewable electricity urgently to protect their health.

 

Delegates from the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners, Australasian College for Emergency Medicine and Australian Federation of Medical Women will meet with Minister D’Ambrosio as well as Parliamentary Secretary for Women’s Health Kat Theophanous MP today to discuss an open letter from 150 Victorian health and community service workers and 30 health organisations outlining the health risks of gas and the need to replace it with renewable electricity.

 

“Gas burning in homes can trigger asthma and can risk poisoning with carbon monoxide,” said Dr Aadhil Aziz, Co-Deputy Victorian Chair of the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners. “The Victorian government must assist households to switch from gas to renewable electricity as fast as possible.”

 

“Household gas use is also a huge contributor to climate change, which threatens health by increasing the frequency and severity of heatwaves, bushfires and other disasters,” said Professor Diana Egerton-Warburton OAM, from the Australasian College for Emergency Medicine’s Public Health and Disaster Committee.

 

The letter urges the Victorian Government to make specific commitments as part of this year’s forthcoming Update to its 2022 Gas Substitution Roadmap, including no new gas connections to homes by 2025 and means-tested financial assistance for Victorians to switch from gas to electricity. The letter notes that the ACT government has already committed to no new gas connections to homes.

 

“Electric appliances are cleaner, healthier and cheaper to run than gas ones, so switching is a win-win-win for Victorians” said Associate Professor Magdalena Simonis, President of the Australian Federation of Medical Women. 

 

“We’re pleased that Minister D’Ambrosio is meeting with us today and that the Victorian Government is listening to health experts on this crucial issue.”

 

Action Details

Where: Victorian Parliament Steps, Spring St Melbourne

When: Today (Wed 31/5/23) 12.30pm - 1pm

What: 30 healthcare workers gather on the Victorian Parliament Steps to hear from medical colleges about their meeting with Minister D'Ambrosio and send the Victorian Government a strong message that gas use in homes is harmful to health.

 

Delegates from the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners, Australasian College for Emergency Medicine and Australian Federation of Medical Women will speak on the Victorian Parliament Steps.

 

Visuals: 30 healthcare workers in professional dress on Parliament steps with a “Gas-Free Healthy Homes” banner and placards with logos of 30 organisations

 

Open Letter to Minister D’Ambrosio (signed by 150 Victorian health and community service workers and thirty health organisations): www.healthyfutures.net.au/vicgas

 

Images and video will be available on the day, by request

 

Available for interview:

  • Dr Aadhil Aziz, Co-Deputy Chair of the Royal Australian College of GPs Victorian Branch

  • Professor Diana Egerton-Warburton OAM, member and previous Chair of the Australian College for Emergency Medicine’s Public Health and Disaster Committee

  • Associate Professor Magdalena Simonis, President of the Australian Federation of Medical Women


Key Facts:

- Pollution from gas stoves has been estimated to account for 12% of the childhood asthma burden in Australia [1]

- Gas use in homes has been estimated to impart as much risk for childhood asthma as passive smoking [2]

- Gas use accounts for a sixth of Victoria’s greenhouse gas emissions [3]

- Electric reverse-cycle heating is cheaper to run than gas heating [4] and the cost difference is expected to increase [5]

 

References:

[1] Knibbs, LD, Woldeyohannes, S, Marks, GB & Cowie, CT 2018, ‘Damp housing, gas stoves, and the burden of childhood asthma in Australia’, Medical Journal of Australia, vol. 208, no. 7, pp299-302, viewed at  https://www.mja.com.au/journal/2018/208/7/damp-housing-gas-stoves-and-burden-childhood-asthma-australia

[2] Charlesworth, K, et al 2021, Kicking the gas habit: How gas is harming our health, Climate Council https://www.climatecouncil.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2021/05/Kicking-the-Gas-Habit-How-Gas-is-Harming-our-Health.pdf

[3] DELWP (Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning) 2022, Gas Substitution Roadmap, DELWP, Victorian Government, viewed at  https://www.energy.vic.gov.au/renewable-energy/victorias-gas-substitution-roadmap

[4] Sustainability Victoria 2022, Calculate heating running costs, viewed 11 January 2023 at https://www.sustainability.vic.gov.au/energy-efficiency-and-reducing-emissions/save-energy-in-the-home/heat-your-home-efficiently/calculate-heating-costs

[5] McLeod R 2022, Limiting energy bills by getting off gas: all-electric homes after the 2022 energy crisis, Renew Australia, https://renew.org.au/research/limiting-energy-bills-by-getting-off-gas/

 


About us:

Healthy Futures is campaigning for a world where communities can thrive with clean air, clean energy and a safe and safe climate. We are a non-profit organisation that engages and empowers health professionals, students and community members to protect health by tackling climate change and fossil fuel pollution.

 


Contact details:

James Atkinson 0415 162 712 



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