Failure to tackle climate change will put more pressure on health system, peak medical bodies say

Melissa Davey

Melissa Davey

Pressures on hospitals and other health services are being exacerbated by a failure to tackle climate change, a coalition of peak medical bodies have warned.

The warning comes with the release of the latest MJA-Lancet Countdown on Health and Climate Change, an annual assessment of Australia’s progress in tackling climate change and its health impacts.

This year’s review confirmed health harms from life-threatening heat, severe drought, fires, and other disasters are contributing to deteriorating health system capacity.

The Royal Australasian College of Physicians president, Dr Jacqueline Small, said the flood devastation across Australia “forewarns increased frequency and intensity of all extreme weather events as a consequence of climate change”.

She said:

This is both an immediate and long-term reality.

We urge the federal government to move with urgency and ambition on plans for a national climate change, health and wellbeing strategy.

The Australian Medical Association president, Prof Steve Robson, said politicians must “read this report and to act urgently on its recommendations”.

The federal budget included funding to establish a National Health Sustainability and Climate Unit and a National Health and Climate Strategy, which Robson welcomed.

Key events

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Campaign against IR changes less important than ‘the right thing to do’: Gallagher

ABC Radio asks Gallagher if the government is concerned about a funded campaign against the government on the IR bill, considering the published warnings from business that they are prepared to do so.

Gallagher:

I don’t think it’s surprising that there are people who aren’t supportive of this legislation.

For the government, it’s really about what is the right thing to do. How … we make sure that we’re finding that balance and that we’re getting the bargaining system working for working people, which is the problem that we are trying to deal with here, particularly with my minister for women’s hat on – some of the issues that we’ve seen in those industries that are dominated by women [are] about where bargaining has failed, and industrial relations protections haven’t provided the environment that those workforces need to have a secure, well paid job.

I think that the impact of the campaign against the changes is less important than trying to focus on what the right thing to do is and we know that in this area, bargaining is not working and something needs to happen.

Engagement with crossbench and business necessary on industrial relations bill amid concerns: Gallagher

The senate crossbench has been calling for more time to scrutinise the government’s omnibus industrial relations bill.

ABC Radio asks Gallagher why the crossbench shouldn’t get more time to look at the bill. Gallagher says:

There’s a committee process under way and that’s important. I have no doubt the minister continues to talk with the Senate crossbench on how to navigate this bill through, but I think what the government is saying is this is a priority for us.

I don’t think it’s any surprise that the government would want to see these sensible amendments passed by the end of the year.

Karvelas:

Business is telling us that the provisions in your bill go well beyond low-paid sectors, and due to the common interest test, could apply to any business, and only those with fewer than 50 employees can opt out. Are you willing to look at that provision in the bill given businesses is saying that this is going to drag a lot of businesses into potentially multi employer negotiations?

Gallagher:

My understanding is there are some safeguards in the bill, so that tests would have to be met so I understand they are the more controversial parts of the bill, I have no doubt they will be looked at through the senate inquiry, as they should be.

Engagement with the crossbench, engagement with business which is what we’ve been doing, since the election is the right path, and I know the minister’s aiming that.

Budget forecast doesn’t predict wage price spiral: finance minister

The Reserve Bank says it wants to avoid a wage price spiral. Does Gallagher think the government’s policies are risking that?

The bank obviously will keep looking at that … we’re not seeing that, the budget in its forecast doesn’t predict that.

‘Work is under way’ on regulatory intervention to lower energy prices: Gallagher

Karvelas asks Gallagher if regulatory intervention to lower energy prices is the only option the government has to ease the cost of living without pushing up inflation.

Gallagher says:

Looking at the regulatory arrangements is our first inclination. That work is under way, I can’t give you a timeframe on the completion of that.

Cost-of-living relief ‘always on the agenda’: finance minister

Karvelas:

Is there a threshold – where rates and inflation hit a certain point – that the government will provide some immediate relief for people?

Gallagher:

The government will always be looking at what’s the right thing to do by households. Absolutely. It’s on our agenda every time the government meets.

You saw that in the budget where we made the deliberate decision where we could to invest in a cost of living budget.

In the budget there was a substantial increase into payments for people on pensions, job seeker, aged pension, family assistance … it’s built in the budget that way so that when costs go up, the indexation realises that.

Returning inflation closer to normal ‘biggest assistance we can provide’: finance minister

The finance minister, Katy Gallagher, is speaking with ABC Radio following that decision by the Reserve Bank yesterday to raise interest rates for a seventh consecutive time in as many months.

The Reserve Bank is now forecasting inflation to reach 8% by the end of the year, which has been exacerbated by floods and the energy crisis on Ukraine.

RN Breakfast host Patricia Karvelas asks Gallagher how much worse can this economic situation get for households, to which Gallagher replies the government understands “it’s a really challenging set of circumstances” households are facing and that:

Getting inflation back to more normal ranges is the absolute priority, because in the longer term that is going to be the biggest assistance we can provide to households.

First sitting of NSW gay hate murder probe

Cold case murders of gay men and LGBTQ+ community members will be investigated in a landmark NSW inquiry.

The special commission of inquiry into hate crimes, led by Justice John Sackar, was established in April after it was recommended by a 2019 parliamentary inquiry.

Sydney’s wave of anti-gay hate crime peaked during the Aids epidemic of the 1980s, with an estimated 88 gay men killed between 1976 and 2000.

Acon, Australia’s largest sexuality community health organisation, said the brutal killings included everything from stabbings and strangulation to bludgeoning and shootings.

For the last five months a team of independent barristers, solicitors and investigators has been combing through more than 100,000 documents drawn from 40 years of police and coronial files as well as other sources on LGBTQ+ hate-related deaths.

In 2018, NSW police acknowledged “without qualification both its and society’s acceptance of gay bashings and shocking violence directed towards gay men, and the LGBTIQ community” with release of the landmark Strike Force Parrabell report.

Senior counsel assisting Peter Gray will outline the scope of the inquiry in its first sitting on Wednesday.

The special commission, which has investigative powers, is due to deliver its report to the NSW governor in June 2023.

– from AAP

Severe weather warning for damaging winds for southern Queensland

Queensland Fire and Emergency have released this (very adorable) warning for damaging winds for parts of the Maranoa and Warrego, Southeast Coast and Darling Downs and Granite Belt forecast districts.

Failure to tackle climate change will put more pressure on health system, peak medical bodies say

Melissa Davey

Melissa Davey

Pressures on hospitals and other health services are being exacerbated by a failure to tackle climate change, a coalition of peak medical bodies have warned.

The warning comes with the release of the latest MJA-Lancet Countdown on Health and Climate Change, an annual assessment of Australia’s progress in tackling climate change and its health impacts.

This year’s review confirmed health harms from life-threatening heat, severe drought, fires, and other disasters are contributing to deteriorating health system capacity.

The Royal Australasian College of Physicians president, Dr Jacqueline Small, said the flood devastation across Australia “forewarns increased frequency and intensity of all extreme weather events as a consequence of climate change”.

She said:

This is both an immediate and long-term reality.

We urge the federal government to move with urgency and ambition on plans for a national climate change, health and wellbeing strategy.

The Australian Medical Association president, Prof Steve Robson, said politicians must “read this report and to act urgently on its recommendations”.

The federal budget included funding to establish a National Health Sustainability and Climate Unit and a National Health and Climate Strategy, which Robson welcomed.

Natasha May now on deck with you!

We’ll be hearing from the sex discrimination commissioner, Kate Jenkins, on ABC radio soon who will be unveiling a new measure out of her report a year after it was delivered.

Jenkins and her team investigated the culture in Parliament House, and other commonwealth parliamentary workplaces, handing down a landmark report that found one in three staffers interviewed had been sexually harassed.

The report made a number of recommendations, such as the establishment of a new Office of Parliamentarian Staffing and Culture to provide centralised human resources support, including policy development, training, advice, support and education.

Stay tuned for the new announcement.

‘Gamble responsibly’ to be replaced with ‘chances are, you’re about to lose’ warning

Online gambling companies will be forced to tell their customers “chances are you’re about to lose” under a new set of rules in the National Consumer Protection Framework, writes my colleague Josh Butler.

The social services minister, Amanda Rishworth, will announce the changes today, with the federal government mandating what it says is the first set of nationally consistent messages around the potential harms of online gambling.

Sportsbet is one of the online gambling outlets in Australia.
Sportsbet is one of the online gambling outlets in Australia. Photograph: Julian Smith/AAP

Currently, online gambling companies tell users to “gamble responsibly” in their advertisements. From early next year, online wagering companies will be required to run a set of new messages in ads they share via TV, radio, apps, digital or print advertising, social media, and websites, with new taglines including:

  • Chances are you’re about to lose.

  • Think. Is this a bet you really want to place?

  • What’s gambling really costing you?

  • What are you prepared to lose today? Set a deposit limit.

  • Imagine what you could be buying instead.

  • You win some. You lose more.

  • What are you really gambling with?

The ads, in most cases, must be accompanied by the advisory “For free and confidential support call 1800 858 858 or visit gamblinghelponline.org.au”.

An updated version of the consumer protection framework also requires gambling companies to ensure a full rotation of the taglines over a 12-month period to mitigate “message fatigue” for users.

“Online wagering is fast becoming an increasing source of gambling and an increasing source of loss for people,” Rishworth said.

“We have consulted widely and, importantly, we have used evidence to inform these taglines.”

The new taglines have come after expensive behavioural research. The government recently opened a parliamentary inquiry into online gambling and gambling harm, which will examine existing consumer protections, counselling and support services, education programs, regulation and licensing schemes, and whether laws should be extended to “gambling-like activities” in video games like loot boxes or social casino games.

The government said Australia has the highest gambling losses of any country, at $1,276 per year, with problem gambling rates more than doubling from 0.6% of the adult population in 2011 to 1.23% in 2019.

The rates of problem gambling in online users is even higher, at 3.9%. The government said the size of the “interactive wagering market” is estimated at $6.3bn, compared to electronic gaming at $9bn.

Good morning

Welcome to our live news blog. Natasha May will be with you shortly, but first: a look at the main lines this morning.

Cost of living concerns look likely to dominate much of the political agenda again today after the Reserve Bank governor, Philip Lowe, warned that he would keep raising interest rates while inflation continued to rise. It was a rather bleak follow-up to the bank’s monetary policy committee decision to raise the cash rate by another 0.25% on Tuesday, taking it to 2.85% and increasing pressure on mortgage holders.

We’ve got a full story on Lowe’s comments, plus analysis by our economics editor Peter Hannam on how, despite the focus on higher energy bills, the real driver of inflation is mortgage, food and transport. In fact, he writes, average mortgage costs are rising 13 times more quickly than energy bills thanks to the RBA’s series of rate hikes.

But there’s also research today that hundreds of thousands of Australians eligible for concessions on their energy bills may not be receiving them, with more than 35% of potential recipients missing out on critical cost-of-living relief in some states.

Stick with us for all the day’s news.





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