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Medical Health Aged Care, Political

Health workers call on senators to consider Territorians’ health ahead of Middle Arm precinct hearings

Climate Media Centre 2 mins read

Tuesday, April 9

 

Doctors, nurses and midwives dedicated to the health and well-being of Territorians have voiced their concerns about the gas export and petrochemical manufacturing hub planned for Middle Arm.

 

Speaking ahead of this week’s public hearings into the proposal, Darwin paediatrician Dr Louise Woodward said the medical community was deeply concerned about the expansion of gas projects, particularly the project planned for Middle Arm.

 

“We have had LNG processing in Darwin for the last 10 years with very little discussion about the health impacts on the Darwin and Palmerston communities,” Dr Woodward said. 

 

“The hazardous emissions from the gas and petrochemical industries are a threat to public health and the safety of the NT people. We welcome this inquiry and look forward to explaining why we do not support the further expansion of the gas industry, enabled by the Middle Arm project.”

 

Dr Dana Fitzsimmons, local GP, said: "Doctors and nurses are all worried about climate change. We are living through a climate emergency. Come on NT government, time to put the brake on, take your foot off the gas, stop Middle Arm, stop gas development, put your citizen's health first."  

 

Olivia Conan-Davies, NT emergency nurse, said: "I feel deeply disrespected by the government for suggesting a project that will worsen our working conditions and degrade our home. Our job as nurses is to advocate for our patients. We need to raise the alarm about air quality in Darwin. Healthcare workers represent the largest workforce in the NT with some of the worst working conditions, yet it is the fossil fuel projects that get giant subsidies."  

 

Dr Paul Bauert, former Australian Medical Association (AMA) NT president, said: “As a paediatrician who has cared for the children of the Beetaloo Basin for more than 40 years, I have no hesitation in speaking out against fracking and Middle Arm, both of which will further disadvantage the health of an already vulnerable population of both children and pregnant women.” 

 

For more information or interviews contact: Louise Woodward 0405 531 576 or Emily Watkins 0420 622 408

 

Background:

  • The manufacture of gas into LNG releases toxic pollution into the air which places the public at risk of serious health consequences. Research shows that people living near oil and gas manufacturing facilities have higher rates of cancer, asthma, heart and lung disease, premature birth, and even death.
  • Petrochemical manufacturing is a toxic process with significant health risks for both workers and residents living nearby. Of concern, research shows that people living within 5km of petrochemical facilities have a 30% increased risk of leukaemia and this risk has not improved over time. Many Darwin and Palmerston residents will live within 5km of the Middle Arm project which is projected to have petrochemical manufacturing.
  • Climate change is an ever-present threat to the people of the NT with more frequent life-threatening heat, fires, floods, and natural disasters. The climate crisis is caused by the extraction and burning of fossil fuels, including gas which is exacerbated by Australia’s increasing exports of gas. The NT should prioritise the health and safety of people by rapidly moving away from fossil fuels like gas.
  • The hazardous emissions from the gas and petrochemical industries are a threat to public health and the safety of the NT people. We do not support the further expansion of the gas industry, enabled by the Middle Arm project.

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