Main Content

Climate Health Victoria

Climate Health Victoria

Established in February 2024 as part of broader organisational changes in the Department of Health, Climate Health Victoria (CHV) is the new unit overseeing the state’s climate change and sustainability actions within Victoria’s public health sector.

ANMF (Vic Branch) had previously worked on a number of shared projects with sustainability teams in the Department and advocated strongly for a dedicated unit.

Now that CHV is operational, the Branch sat down with its director Heidi Matkovich to find out more.

Tell us a bit about Climate Health Victoria

Climate Health Victoria will promote climate change and sustainability action in Victoria’s public-health sector and support health services to reduce their carbon emissions and prepare for the impacts of climate change.

We will work with the health sector to promote and share best-practice climate and sustainability initiatives and activity. We will also partner with health services and other agencies to drive improvements in climate and sustainability performance.

Our work program spans emissions reduction and adaptation obligations to meet Victorian and Australian commitments to climate action. We will be focused on activities that have a clear climate impact and we intend to refine our priorities through further consultation with the health sector.

What are Climate Health Victoria’s priorities for the first year? The next five years?

Our priority for the first year is to establish a clear strategy and work program for Climate Health Victoria through consultation with the sector.

Along with other governments, health services and sector partners, we have joined the Transition to Sustainable Healthcare Consortium (led by the Monash Sustainable Development Institute) to develop a roadmap to health-system decarbonisation.

We are continuing to implement several climate adaptation projects with partners across the health sector. We also hope to share resources and success stories.

What opportunities are there for nurses, midwives and carers to participate in actions?

As trusted and credible voices in the community, healthcare professionals play a key role in climate action, from raising awareness to identifying specific areas for change in their areas of work. We cannot achieve our net zero ambitions without working in partnership with nurses, midwives, carers and clinicians along the journey. Your actions are important and have an impact.

All health services in the public sector are required to prepare an environmental management plan and report on environmental performance. We’d encourage anyone who is interested to talk with colleagues and peers about what actions you can take within your own organisation. [The Branch’s Health and Environmental Sustainability resources page is a good place to start if you need inspiration].

We are keen to be out and about to visit people on site, and we will continue connecting with sustainability officers within health services, and the ANMF (Vic Branch) Sustainability Officer.

ANMF delegates have expressed the need for health services to provide orientation to environmental sustainability opportunities as part of onboarding. The Branch took this proposal to Climate Health Victoria to develop government-endorsed materials that could be used for this purpose. How is this going?

We recognise that sector-wide sustainability training for staff could be an important tool to share knowledge and support consistent action on environmental issues. In particular, we are looking at the opportunities to link to Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care’s (ACQSHC) Sustainability Module to maximise its relevance and impact.

Another suggestion was the development of a carbon measurement tool that could be used as part of quantifying emissions reductions associated with changes to clinical practice. Is this something that Climate Health Victoria will develop?

Climate Health Victoria is interested in quantifying the benefits associated with high-value care. We want to make sure that all benefits –  patient outcomes, financial savings and emissions reductions – are captured, because we know these often go hand-in-hand.

We will start by exploring existing work that can be built on, as well as participating in the work underway through the National Health and Climate Strategy to develop a health system decarbonisation roadmap that encompasses scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions.

Climate Health Victoria welcomes recommendations from clinicians on different practices that could be reducing greenhouse gas emissions. You can contact us via