MEDIA RELEASE: First Nations Voices' Input to National Health and Climate Strategy

19 July 2023


The Australian Government is engaging with First Nations leaders as it develops Australia’s first National Health and Climate Strategy.
Assistant Minister for Health and Aged Care Ged Kearney MP will hold a roundtable today with First Nations peak bodies and representatives from across Australia.

The Strategy will provide a plan of action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the health system and better prepare the sector for the challenges presented by climate change, including threats specific to the health and wellbeing of First Nations people.
Climate change threatens to disrupt connections to Country, further limit access to safe drinking water and increase the difficulty in accessing appropriate housing, infrastructure and health services.
Embedding Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander perspectives and expertise in the strategy will strengthen climate adaptation and mitigation planning.
Co-designing the strategy in partnership with First Nations peoples across the country is essential to its successful development and implementation.
The targeted consultation with First Nations leaders will bolster the feedback collected through a survey, written submissions, and discussion with other stakeholders and the community. Community feedback on the strategy can be provided until 24 July 2023.

Quotes attributable to Assistant Minister for Health and Aged Care
Ged Kearney MP:
“The World Health Organisation has described climate change as the greatest threat to public health in the 21st century.
“First Nations people already face inequality in health outcomes, and these will only be exacerbated by climate change – it is critical we hear from First Nations people as we develop this strategy.
“For tens of thousands of years, First Nations communities have cared for the land and recognised that a close connection with Country, culture, spirituality, community and family all contribute to good health.
“I thank all the advocates and community members who have contributed to the development of the Strategy so far and encourage anyone concerned about how climate change will affect our health to read the consultation paper and provide feedback.”