National

Doctors lobby on climate health risk

By AAP Newswire

Doctors have called on the federal government to take urgent steps to prepare health services for more extreme weather events and disasters.

Doctors for the Environment Australia delivered pledges to Health Minister Greg Hunt from a number of associations in Canberra on Monday to protect children's health from worsening climate change.

"Climate change exposes children to greater risk of respiratory illness, increases in childhood emergency department visits for asthma, fever, gastroenteritis and heat stroke," spokesman Ingo Weber said in a statement.

It comes as Environment Minister Sussan Ley made strong comments on climate change, saying the science behind it was "conclusive".

Speaking at the launch of a report by the Farmers for Climate Action, Ms Ley said there was no question the climate was changing.

"We're also in a period of terrible drought and we face those all too many times," Ms Ley said.

"We do need to look at it in a different context and develop long term strategies and ways to adapt."

But Ms Ley said she also wanted to see "less green tape" and a "practical road map" for farmers, with federal environmental and conservation laws soon set to go under a scheduled review.

Farmers for Climate Action deputy chair and sheep farmer Charlie Prell said bipartisan action was needed to address the impacts of climate change on rural production such as water shortages and intense heat.

"At the moment [climate change] is a really, really contested political space," Mr Prell told AAP.

The group's report made a number of recommendations, including that a national strategy on climate change and Australian agriculture be urgently adopted.

Senior Australian of the Year 2019 and paediatrician Sue Packer addressed the Doctors for the Environment Australia event at Parliament House, as well as Labor's climate spokesman Mark Butler and independent MPs, Zali Steggall and Andrew Wilkie.

The pledges have been endorsed by the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners, The Royal Australasian College of Physicians, the Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine, the Australasian College of Sport and Exercise Physicians and the Australian Medical Students' Association, and more than 2000 health professionals, including Professor Fiona Stanley.

NSW Water Minister Melinda Pavey pre-empted the lobbying on Sunday saying she would rather see doctors address the shortage of medical services in rural towns.