Climate and rural health the focus at parliamentary breakfast

11 February 2020

Climate change and health are inextricably linked, and it is people in rural, regional and remote Australia who are hit the hardest.

That’s the message that the National Rural Health Alliance and a range of expert speakers will deliver to MPs at a Parliamentary Friends of Rural and Remote Health breakfast.

Speakers at the breakfast include Professor Anthony Capon, the Director of Monash University’s Sustainable Development Institute and former Professor of Planetary Health at the University of Sydney; Dr Arnagretta Hunter, cardiologist, ANU lecturer and member of Doctors for the Environment and the Climate and Health Alliance; and Professor Jenny May, rural GP and Director of the University of Newcastle Department of Rural Health.

National Rural Health Alliance Chair Ms Tanya Lehmann and CEO Dr Gabrielle O’Kane will also speak to the Alliance’s position statement on climate change and rural health.

“When it comes to the health and wellbeing of rural communities, we can’t ignore the realities of climate change,” said Dr O’Kane.

“We’re thrilled to be able to bring to Parliament so many engaging speakers with expertise in climate and health as well as those who can speak about the impact of extreme weather events on rural communities.

“The impacts of climate change on people in rural areas are significant and diverse. There’s the obvious fact that rural Australia is more susceptible to extreme weather events, but then there’s the impact on things like food security as well as water quality and availability.

“And let’s not forget that climate change is a risk multiplier and can worsen already substantial social and health inequities between those in rural communities and their city counterparts.

“More broadly, the Parliamentary Friendship Group is a great forum for our 44 member bodies to engage directly with parliamentarians, to discuss ways that we can all work together to improve rural health.”