The Environmental Impact Assessment process incorporates this Health Impact Assessment which includes all aspects of community health, including social and mental health aspects and social disruption. All these processes are intended to look at the balance of positive and negative impacts of the development upon which informed decisions can be made. DEA uses its expertise to determine whether these health obligations have been carried out. We have assessed whether the Queensland government has carried out these obligations in relation to resource developments.
Submission to the Climate Change Authority on the future remission targets Australia should commit to as part of an effective and equitable global effort to achieve the objective of the UNFCCC (Article 2) or subsequent agreement to which Australia is a party. Doctors for the Environment Australia recommends that Australia commit to a reduction target on 2020 levels of at least 40% by 2025 and 95% by 2050. These targets are based on the severe consequences for human health and well being if global warming is not confined to two degrees. Since the constraint of emissions will have many health co-benefits and therefore cost savings, there will be some reduction in the costs of mitigation and adaptation.
Members of DEA are deeply concerned by the serious threats posed to health by fracture stimulation (fracking) for unconventional (whether coal seam, shale, or tight) gas in the South East of South Australia.
DEA notes that this review process came about through the expression of significant concern about the potential for exploration and mining for unconventional gas deposits (including coal seam gas) by landholders, communities, businesses and health bodies in the lead-up to the 2014 Tasmanian state election.
DEA notes that the AAQ NEPM is not enforceable by the federal government, so even if it includes standards and goals that correctly reflect current scientific thinking on the health effects of air pollution it is not a strong mechanism for ensuring that the Australian population is protected from health impacts.
Of the many pending approvals of new mines in NSW, DEA made submissions on these interrelated mines for two reasons. Firstly, because of the potential health impacts; the extension of the Warkworth Mine brings mining operations and pollution closer to the village of Bulga and the related Mt Thorley Mine extension contributes to significantly longer operations at the site.
As a body of medical professionals, DEA is an interested stakeholder due to our interest and expertise on the intersection of health, environmental threats and damage to natural ecosystems such as High Conservation Value (HCV) Forests. Our Tasmanian members and their patients could well be affected by management activities which may harm human health. Furthermore, DEA acts as a key public health voice in the sphere of environmental health including air pollution, water pollution, and on the health effects of climate change and the value of nature for human well-being.
DEA Hazelwood Mine Fire Submission - May 2014. The Hazelwood Coal Mine Fires of 2014 have heightened public awareness and concern in relation to the adverse health implications from our coal industries. This fire was unique in its extent and durations however authorities should acknowledge and address the inadequate monitoring and health research concerning exposure of Latrobe Valley residents to coal pollutants over the past decades. Furthermore it is not in the interests of Victoria to continue with coal developments in view of their serious health effects locally and globally and the economic need to enter the worldwide transition to renewable energies. From a public health or public financing perspective coal is not a cheap energy source, with communities and tax payers paying dearly once the health and environmental impacts are adequately considered.
DEA welcomes the opportunity to respond to the Terms of Reference of this inquiry. Our position is based solely on our duty to examine the evidence and speak out to benefit the present and future health of our patients, the community. While this inquiry is solely related to hydraulic fracturing which is used in the extraction of unconventional gas deposits, there are other environmental and health concerns with unconventional gas that are not addressed in the terms of reference for this inquiry.
We contend that delegating environmental approval powers to state and territory governments carries significant potential to compromise human health. We will present evidence that State and Territory health assessments as part of the EIS process are already flawed on many occasions and further delegation of powers is unwise.
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