Climate change is a global economic, social, environmental and public health issue. It poses significant consequences for our health and wellbeing. Victoria is not immune to consequences such as:
- the increased intensity and frequency of extreme weather events
- the potential spread of disease
- effects on mental health
- threats to food and water supply
The impacts of climate change on the management of health and human services and government assets, such as hospitals and health services, affect our community. Vulnerable and disadvantaged groups including aged persons, people with chronic conditions and low-income households are often affected most.
Climate change also poses numerous risks to infrastructure. If these risks are not considered when locating, designing, building and maintaining assets, is likely that the life of each asset will be reduced. It is also likely that costs of running the infrastructure will increase over its life-cycle.
Risks to health infrastructure from climate change include:
- inundation due to sea level rise
- riverine and inland flooding
- soil contraction shifting foundations
- extreme windstorms
- bushfire and smoke damage
- hot days and heatwaves
- legionella growth
- amplification of other pathogens and microbes.
Each of these pose risks to people’s comfort, health and lives.
The Department of Health Pilot health and human services climate change adaptation action plan 2019-21 details how we will assist the sector to embed climate change considerations into policies, planning, guidelines and operations, and how we plan to respond to the risks posed to public health and wellbeing.