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New target will help put health’s house in order

New target will help put health’s house in order

The ANMF (Vic Branch) has welcomed the Andrews Government upgrading its carbon emission reduction targets, including the target to power hospitals with 100 per cent renewable electricity by 2025.

The government aims to reduce Victorian carbon emissions by 28-33 per cent by 2025 and 45-50 per cent by 2030.

While this is encouraging, the ANMF (Vic Branch), as a member of Victorian Trades Hall Council’s Climate Action Group, supports a broader union push for Victorian interim reduction targets of 40-45 per cent by 2025 and 67-75 per cent by 2030, to constrain global warming to 1.5 degrees in line with the Paris Agreement.

The targets under Victoria’s Climate Change Strategy will involve public sector hospitals, schools, police stations and trains being powered by 100 per cent renewable electricity by 2025.

The Andrews Government will invest more than $100 million in the transport sector, including offering up to $3000 for Victorians to buy zero emissions vehicles and a target that 50 per cent of all new Victorian car sales will be zero emissions vehicles by 2030. These initiatives will help the Victoria Government meets its target of net zero emissions by 2050.

Deputy Chief Health Officer Angie Bone, presenting at the ANMF (Vic Branch) Health and Environmental Sustainability Conference, said Australia’s carbon emissions were about three times higher than most European countries.

The health sector had to ‘walk the talk and put our own house in order’, she said, given the health sector nation-wide contributed about 7 per cent of the carbon emissions total and Australia’s high carbon intensity energy use.

Victoria’s temperature was tracking towards the upper limit of climate change projections and winter rainfall was tracking towards the lower end of projections, Dr Bone said.

Dr Bone commended ANMF (Vic Branch) for our work on environmental sustainability, advocating for action on climate change and supporting Victorian nurses, midwives and personal care workers in sustainable practice.

Dr Bone said there were many changes that could be made to models of care to make them more environmentally sustainable. Infection control was important but also a ‘sacred cow’ in healthcare –producing and disposing of single-use items involves a great deal of energy and waste.

The UK’s National Health Service (NHS) announced in October 2020 its aim to be the world’s first net zero emissions health system. For the emissions it controls directly, the NHS aims to reach net zero by 2040 and reduce emissions by 80 per cent by 2028 to 2032.