Doctors will gather in Canberra on Tuesday to urge PM Anthony Albanese and his Government to stop fracking in the NT’s Beetaloo Basin by withdrawing funding that will allow the Middle Arm precinct to process the gas, as the project risks the health of all Australians.
The healthcare professionals will be supported by climate organisations, young people and First Nations delegates.
Dr Kate Wylie, GP and Executive Director of Doctors for the Environment Australia (DEA) will join the day of action alongside paediatricians, GPs, and nurses. GPs and Co-Chairs of NT DEA, Dr Brooke Ah Shay and Dr Rosalie Schultz, also add their support to medical colleagues.
Dr Wylie says:
“Opening up Beetaloo to fracking poses a serious health threat to everyone and should alarm doctors and all other health professionals.
“The vast gas field in the Beetaloo Basin would add annual greenhouse emissions equivalent to 117 million tonnes of CO2, approximately 22 percent of Australia’s current annual total.
“We’re already seeing the dire consequences of escalating climate change. In Australia, we saw two national disasters in the 2019–2020 bushfires and the 2021–2022 flooding, while Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology has announced an El Niño event is “likely in the coming weeks”. Across the Northern Hemisphere, including Europe, North America, and China last month, hundreds of millions of people suffered extreme heat waves, floods and fires.
“What will it take for our leaders to listen to the repeated warnings from the experts about the threat of climate change- the greatest threat to health?
“The UN Secretary-General has warned we’re in an era of ‘global boiling’, and the International Energy Agency (IEA), the IPCC, and scientists globally have warned that we cannot afford new fossil fuel projects.
“If Beetaloo and Middle Arm projects go ahead, they are going to add a further load to an already overloaded health system.
“Australia does not need further fossil fuel extraction, as we have plentiful renewable resources.
“As doctors we have a duty of care to the health of the community and urge the PM and his government to also put the health of Australians front and centre.”
Dr Brooke Ah Shay says:
“As a GP who lives in the Northern Territory and has spent several years living and working in a remote Aboriginal community in Arnhem Land, I am angered by the government’s failure to listen to the voices of the Traditional Owners opposed to fracking on their Country, as well as their failure to consider the numerous health risks.
“Fracking pollutes the air, water and soil of nearby communities with numerous chemical contaminants and is associated with an increased risk of many serious health problems, including asthma, heart disease, and leukaemia.”
Dr Rosalie Schultz says:
“It was disappointing to hear our Chief Minister Natasha Fyles, whose party was elected because of opposition to fracking, now so out of touch with the community. Gas is not a transition fuel but fueling climate catastrophe. Support from colleagues interstate recognises that climate change – global heating – extends far beyond NT’s borders. We need sustainable development that will sustain human wellbeing, biodiversity and justice.”
Media and Communications Lead, Carmela Ferraro 0410 703 074
The event in Canberra on Tuesday follows a recent open letter to the Prime Minister signed by more than 1100 health professionals.
For information on fracking:
Doctors for the Environment Australia (DEA) is an organisation of medical professionals that protect human health through care of the environment. The devastating impacts of climate change on human health and the solutions needed to address this grave threat are a major focus of our work.
Our members are GPs, surgeons, physicians, anaesthetists, psychiatrists, paediatricians, public health specialists, academics, medical students and researchers, bringing leadership and expertise from every branch of medicine.