Doctors and healthcare workers have called on Cowper and Lyne federal election candidates to pledge to take real and immediate action on climate change.
It comes after 132 healthcare workers, along with Port Macquarie Base Hospital Medical Staff Council, signed an open letter that calls on local, state and federal governments to work collaboratively to mitigate a raft of dangerous health impacts which will flow if global warming is not contained.
Medical oncologist Dr Georgia Ritchie said the letter was initially drafted in response to the 2019/20 bushfire disaster and submitted to local MPs and Port Macquarie-Hastings Council.
It is being released to the public following the Northern Rivers flood disaster and release of the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report.
In the letter, the 132 signatories stand with the Australian Medical Association to acknowledge that climate change is causing a health emergency.
"Our community is experiencing longer and more severe bushfire seasons, changes in rainfall and storm patterns, and increased risks from heatwave and extreme heat events," the letter said.
"These events have resulted in immediate adverse health impacts such as heat stress, heart and lung problems, and allergic illness, and place our patients at risk of long term effects from air pollution and mental health problems."
Dr Ritchie said climate change was a critical health issue.
"We believe we need to advocate for health as doctors and we feel it's really important to be part of the conversation," she said.
Dr Ritchie said Australia recently ranked last at the global climate summit in Glasgow of 60 countries for its policy response to the climate crisis.
"We need to do more to tackle this problem in our own backyard or the consequences will be dire," she said.
"That's why we are now keen to find out which political candidates share our concerns for real action on climate change and what they are prepared to do to reduce harmful emissions."
General practitioner Dr Sarah Mollard said they were starting to see the health impacts of climate change on patients.
"The health impacts really parallel what we are seeing at a community level," she said.
"We are seeing impacts on people's health in multiple different ways."
She said medical professionals were also seeing mental health impacts of climate change.
Dr Mollard said eco-anxiety was a major issue for younger people and many parents were concerned about what the future held for their children.
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