Public health a priority in climate plan

·1-min read

Work has started on a focused plan for Australia's health sector to deal with the impacts of climate change.

Between 2030 and 2050 an estimated 250,000 people will die each year as a result of the warming planet, and federal Health Minister Mark Butler said it was crucial to have a strategy in place.

"The World Health Organisation has described climate change as the greatest threat to public health in the 21st century," he told parliament on Wednesday.

"Australia lags the rest of the world in climate and health after nine long years of denial and inaction."

Mr Butler confirmed he is working with state and territory leaders to implement a national climate change health and well-being strategy.

Good climate policy is good public health policy, he said.

"Renewable energy is not just good for the climate, it also removes dangerous pollution from the atmosphere and improves public health," he said.

"I have already had a discussion with state and territory health ministers about how we can work together ... to reduce emissions from the health sector as well as improving its capability to deal with the risks and the opportunities that come with climate change."

Introducing new climate change laws was one of the government's first acts in the 47th parliament.

Following negotiations with the Greens and crossbench in the lower and upper houses, the laws are expected to pass parliament by the end of the year.

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