The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) has welcomed plans by the Victorian Government to phase out gas in new homes and hospitals to reduce exposure to indoor air pollution and help tackle climate change.
Minister for Climate Action Lily D’Ambrosio announced today that from 1 January 2024, gas connections will be banned from all new planning permits for residential housing, including subdivision licences for housing estates.
The Victorian Government also announced that effective immediately, all new public housing and public buildings that are not yet in the design stage, including hospitals, will not be connected to gas.
RACGP Victoria was one of 30 signatories to a letter sent to Victorian Minister for Climate Action Lily D’Ambrosio in May by Healthy Futures, a group of health professionals and students calling for action to protect health by tacking climate change.
The letter called for commitments including no new gas connections to Victorian homes by 2025, and replacement of gas with electricity in all public housing and all public and government buildings.
RACGP Co-Deputy Chairs Dr Aadhil Aziz and Dr Bindiya Sethi, other health leaders, and Healthy Futures members met with Minister D’Ambrosio following the letter.
Dr Aziz said the announcement showed the government is taking practical steps to protect Victorians’ health.
“As GPs, we help our patients to be healthy at all stages of their lives,” he said.
“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.
“As the old saying goes, ‘An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure’ – and that’s true in both health and climate. This announcement shows the government is serious about addressing both climate change and health, and is listening to medical professionals.”
The RACGP advocates for policies to protect human health from risks of climate change at local, state, national and international government levels.
RACGP spokespeople are available for interview.
The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) is the peak representative organisation for general practice, the backbone of Australia’s health system. We set the standards for general practice, facilitate lifelong learning for GPs, connect the general practice community, and advocate for better health and wellbeing for all Australians.