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Environment, Medical Health Aged Care

Government heat map ‘wake up call’ to stop burning fossil fuels

Climate Media Centre 2 mins read

Friday 12 April 2024


Advocacy groups have welcomed the release of the Federal Government’s announcement of a heat mapping tool to assist affected communities deal with the worst of extreme heat, but have called on government to do more to address the root cause, climate change caused by the continued use of fossil fuels. 


Emma Bacon, Executive Director of Sweltering Cities

“Heatwaves are Australia’s deadliest environmental disaster, so we welcome the Government’s acknowledgement of the severe impacts being felt by communities across the country. Clearly, some of the communities most impacted in areas like Western Sydney are facing climate, health, housing and cost of living crises all at once. We welcome this significant new piece of work in clearly illustrating who is most at risk of heat health impacts. 

“In my experience, the people living in hot homes and hot suburbs across the country know that heatwaves are dangerous and that members of their community are at risk. People aren't underprepared for extreme heat through lack of knowledge, they’re being prevented from following health advice because they're anxious about electricity bills so don’t turn on air con, or they’re renters and can't make simple upgrades to their homes to be more energy efficient. 


“The map demonstrates that some of the most dangerous areas are home to millions of people. We need to stop burning fossil fuels that contribute to rising temperatures and will make this crisis unmanageable for the public and the government. We cannot properly adapt to run-away global warming. 


“This map should be a wake up call to everybody in this Government that they can't sit on their hands when it comes to helping vulnerable communities to be safe in dangerous rising temperatures. We'll be eagerly awaiting the announcement of how this Government and all state and territory governments plan to respond to this new map with programs and funding to help our communities be safe.”


Dr Kate Wylie, GP and Doctors for the Environment Australia executive director

“As medical doctors, DEA welcomes the heat-health risk index as a forward thinking action by our government.


“Clinically we are seeing the health impacts of heat and heat waves, we are seeing heart attacks and kidney disease, mental health exacerbations as well as heat-related illnesses, so this is a timely intervention.


“I'd strongly encourage people to check out their own suburb and then maybe have a chat with their doctor about their individual risks so they can protect themselves. People can also look up DEA's Heat and Health Fact Sheet for straightforward information on how to stay safe in the heat. 


“Of course, this type adaptation is only one side of the story and to truly protect our health we need to cut climate pollution. That means phasing out coal, oil and gas as we know they are the primary driver of global heating and the increase we are seeing in heat related illness.”

Contact details:

Danielle Veldre


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