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Health workers welcome gas decision: “a win for health”

Healthy Futures 3 mins read
Healthy Futures and other health organisations call for gas-free buildings

Healthy Futures, a leading organisation of Australian healthcare workers advocating to reduce harmful pollution and limit climate change, along with medical colleges today welcomes the Victorian Government’s announcement that from 1 January 2024, all new planning permits for residential housing including subdivision licences for housing estates will be banned from connecting to gas.

It was also announced that effective immediately, all new public housing and public buildings that are not yet in the design stage will not be connected to gas. 

The announcement, which covers new subdivisions, new social housing, and new hospitals, is a major step forward in the fight against toxic air pollution and climate change. 

Gas is a major contributor to both of these problems, and its use in new buildings will be prohibited from next year.

“This is a great day for Victorians,” said Healthy Futures Co-ordinator and GP, Dr Harry Jennens. 

“The Victorian Government is taking a strong stance on climate change and air pollution, and this announcement is a major step in the right direction.”

“Gas is a harmful fossil fuel that pollutes our air, causes disease and drives dangerous climate change,” said Dr Jennens. “In contrast, electrical appliances are cleaner, healthier and cheaper to run than gas ones, so today’s announcement is a win-win-win for our health, our environment, and for lowering energy bills.”

“It is well established that air pollution from gas appliances causes and exacerbates asthma and other illnesses. A child living in a house with a gas stove faces roughly a 32% increased risk of asthma, which is similar to a child living in a house with cigarette smoke. Gas appliances can even cause death through carbon monoxide poisoning.”

“We are thrilled that the Andrews Government is taking a strong stance on this issue,” said Dr Jennens. “This is a win for Victorians’ health.”

The announcement is a major victory for Healthy Futures, who coordinated over 150 Victorian healthcare workers and 30 health organisations to advocate to the Victorian Government for these reforms earlier this year. 

“We’d like to thank all of our supporters and fellow advocacy organisations who worked tirelessly to achieve this outcome, as well as the Victorian Government for making the right decision,” said Dr Jennens.

“When healthcare workers go above and beyond their daily work to speak up for public health, governments should take note and take action. Today the Andrews Government has done that and served Victorians.”

The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) and Australasian College for Emergency Medicine (ACEM) also welcomed the government’s announcement.

“Reducing our exposure to gas from stoves is the right move for our health,” said Dr Aadhil Aziz, Victorian Co-Deputy Chair of the RACGP. 

“Gas stoves expose people to respiratory irritants which leads to a multitude of respiratory conditions, and research indicates this includes triggering asthma in children. Phasing out gas in our homes is the right choice for our health and the climate.”

ACEM President Dr Clare Skinner said “Australia’s emergency clinicians know that climate change is the biggest global threat to health and health systems.” 

“ACEM supports initiatives that can minimise the impact of climate change, reduce the carbon footprint of hospitals and health systems, and help protect human health.” 

“ACEM welcomes today’s announcement in Victoria as a step in the right direction towards reducing the impacts of climate change and air pollution on health, and congratulates Healthy Futures for their successful advocacy on this issue.”


Contact details:

Available Spokespeople:

 

Dr Harry Jennens, Healthy Futures Co-ordinator 0417418225

 

Dr Aadhil Aziz, Victorian Co-Deputy Chair of the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners

 

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

 

Dr Simon Judkins, Emergency Physician in Rural Victoria

 

Dr Benjamin Lewis, Gippsland GP

 

MEDIA CONTACT:

 

Ursula Alquier, Victorian Healthy Futures Campaigner  0474 803 740

 

Dr Harry Jennens, Healthy Futures Co-ordinator 0417418225

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