The effects of climate change are being felt all over the world, including in Western Queensland. This is highlighted with recent significant and severe weather incidents across the region such as extreme heat and floods.

These extreme environmental hazards can result in negative effects on human health and wellbeing, such as death, disease, injury, mental and emotional distress. Additionally, the level of greenhouse gas emissions from the health system also adds to climate change e.g. use of disposable syringes, increased use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), and soft plastics.

Climate and human health is interlinked and this is highlighted via Australia’s first National Health and Climate Strategy, released in late 2023. The strategy calls “an urgent need to build the climate resilience of our communities and our health system… we need to identify areas we can reduce emissions in the delivery of care.”

Western Queensland Primary Healthy Network (WQPHN) endorses the strategy and is closely looking at how to apply the priorities and actions to build healthy, resilient and sustainable communities in our region.

WQPHN’s footprint covers around 55 per cent of Queensland, larger than NSW and double the size of Tasmania, and we are a significant commissioner of health services.

Importantly, the national strategy emphasises the need to elevate the leadership, wisdom, and knowledge of First Nations people in the response to the health impacts of climate change. The WQPHN patch has:

  • a population of nearly 20 per cent Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander 
  • 34 Aboriginal language groups
  • Four Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services.

Over the coming months we will be planning WQPHN’s strategic response to this national strategy and how we can apply it.

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