Most importantly, the onus should be on proof of the proposed actions' safety and lack of harm to the environment and human health now and into perpetuity- if this is in anyway jeopardised the activity should not be allowed to proceed.
Our health is closely related to the state of our environment and dependent on many natural services it provides. Environmental damage and degradation can lead to health impacts in a great many ways, both directly – as in the case of pollutants – to complex and cumulative effects. Changes to water quality and availability, loss of ecological services and the consequences of climate change, being some examples.
While changes in the planning system are welcome and needed, it is imperative that these changes foster improvements in the health and wellbeing of NSW residents, whom NSW legislation ultimately serves, and who stand to benefit from the state’s economic development. This submission reviews the White Paper’s potential to protect and improve health outcomes of current and future generations, and outlines the serious consequences of not fully considering the impacts of development on health in the new planning legislation.
In this submission DEA outline the health imperatives to reduce Australia’s emissions as quickly as possible, and therefore put a strong case for increasing Australia’s 2020 emissions reduction target from 5% to 25%.
Health is not merely the absence of disease, but requires clean air, safe food and water and ecosystem services in an environment conducive to physical and mental health. There is the potential for health to be affected by CSG directly and indirectly through chemical exposures, threats to food and water security and wider cumulative, psychological and social impacts.
The submission by Doctors for the Environment Australia to the EIS in December 2011 noted that “This EIS fails to assess the human health impacts adequately”. The SEIS also fails.
Our preliminary review of the water issues leaves us with concerns over the possibility of failures of saline water control, the potential for discharges to contain harmful hydrocarbons and the contribution of cumulative impacts of the many projects in the region.
Whilst Doctors for the Environment Australia addresses public health issues pertaining particularly to environmental causes of ill health, it is clear that good health exists within the wider context of sustainability and preservation of ecological support systems. On this basis we must make comment.
DEA is concerned that the Commission has not recognised the importance of protecting human health in its considerations. In our submission, we describe the need for improved regulatory outcomes and the risks associated with reforms that do not achieve this.
Doctors for the Environment Australia welcomes the opportunity to comment on the impacts on health of air quality in Australia, as this is an important public health issue to which inadequate attention has been paid to date.
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Doctors for the Environment Australia aims to utilise the skills of members of the medical profession to address the ill health resulting from damage to the natural environmentDownload Prospectus
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