The Centre for Safe Air and Asthma Australia welcome the opportunity to provide a submission to the inquiry into the transition to electric vehicles by the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Climate Change, Energy, Environment and Water (the Committee). Our joint submission addresses the Terms of Reference (TOR) most relevant to our shared interest in improving population health outcomes associated with airborne hazards. We note that the TOR did not explicitly include the health or wellbeing impacts of transitioning away from internal combustion engine vehicles. We urge the Committee to actively seek input from health stakeholders to ensure the full range of impacts, including benefits to health and wellbeing, are considered in the Committee’s inquiry and report.
Summary of recommendations 1. Health stakeholders should be invited to comment on the efficacy of Australia’s waste and recycling policies, especially in relation to air quality and health impacts of emissions from waste-to-energy (WtE) processes. 2. A full assessment of the environmental impacts life cycle assessments (LCAs) of WtE plants should be considered on a case-by-case basis to evaluate the risks and benefits of pollutant emissions and less obvious potential impacts on the local and wider community, within the life cycle of WtE and alternative/traditional processes. 3. The establishment of a nationally consistent best-practice approach to monitoring and minimising harmful emissions from WtE processes. 4. National consistency is required to consider health benefits/disbenefits for any new biofuel product including adequate health and toxicity consideration. 5. Consideration be given to the safe recycling and reuse of end-of-life components from low-no carbon technologies such as batteries, PVC panels and wind turbine components.
Smoke stack in clouds.
Summary of key recommendations: 1. The increasing risks posed by air pollution should be explicitly included in The National Adaptation Plan Issues Paper. 2. The National Adaptation Plan needs to take an equity-oriented approach to adapting to the impacts and disruption caused by climate change and worsening air pollution. 3. The National Adaptation Plan Issues Paper should include air quality as a crosssystem risk impacting a range of health, environment and economic systems. 4. Given the cross-system risks presented by air pollution, we advocate for a dedicated, comprehensive, inter-agency governance body for air pollution, such as exist for food and water safety. 5. We support the inclusion of co-benefits as a consideration in ‘Prioritising adaptation actions’ in The National Adaptation Plan Issues Paper. 6. The National Adaptation Plan Issues Paper should include communication, education and engagement under 3.3 Enablers of adaptation action.
The risks posed by bushfires and air quality are both predicted to worsen as a consequence of a rapidly warming climate. In this webinar, we heard from leading experts regarding hazard reduction strategies that balance bushfire, smoke pollution and health risks. This webinar featured leading experts including: Owen Price, Associate Professor at the University of Wollongong, Centre for Safe Air Chief Investigator, and Director of the Centre for Environmental Risk Management of Bushfires and the Bushfire Risk Management Research Hub Laurence McCoy, Superintendent and Manager of Predictive Services, NSW Rural Fire Service Merched Azzi, Atmospheric Research Scientist at the NSW Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water The discussion and a Q&A was facilitated by Dr Sabrina Idrose, Centre for Safe Air postdoctoral research fellow and webinar coordinator.
The data visualisation tool shows maps of estimated wood heater pollution-related health impacts across Australia from a 2024 study. Using this tool you can explore the estimates by State/Territory, by Greater Capital City Statistical Area, or by Statistical Area Level 4. The tool also enables you to select what estimates to display: wood heater emissions (WHE) (kg/year), population-weighted WHE-fine particulate matter (PM2.5) concentrations, the number of earlier than expected deaths, or deaths per 100,000 people.

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