Department releases pilot climate change adaption plan

March 17, 2020

The Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) has released its pilot climate change adaption plan, as it looks to mitigate the impact of environmental factors on the health of Victorians.

Climate change, as shown by the recent bushfires, represents a significant threat to the health and wellbeing of Victorians, so the plan is focused on preparing the Victorian health system.

The plan, Pilot Health and Human Services Climate Change Adaptation Action Plan 2019-21, sets out a range of actions that are meant to be delivered by 2021. A number of the actions are directed towards health services, including:

  • Action 4: Advise health service boards to ensure they understand and manage the risks of climate change.
  • Action 13: Analyse the cost of health impacts caused by climate change effects on Victorian housing.
  • Action 14: Develop vulnerability maps of exposed regions, places, at-risk groups and vulnerable populations
  • Action 16: Prepare guidance to inform health services of potential climate risk to infrastructure.
  • Action 17: Integrate climate adaptation into business cases, guidelines for sustainability in healthcare capital works, hospital essential engineering services guidelines and health service environmental management planning.
  • Action 18: Collect and analyse data on the energy security of public health facilities.
  • Action 19: Advocate for changes to hospital design standards to actively consider climate change.

The plan sets out that hospitals, health services and community service organisations have a responsibility to manage climate change risks to their assets, services, clients, and staff. DHHS, among other responsibilities, is responsible for leading on the development and implementation of the Adaptation Action Plan, as well as delivering the above actions.

The pilot plan has been prepared due to statutory requirements under the Climate Change Act 2017, and applies until 31 October 2021. A mandatory longer-term adaptation action plan is being developed, which organisations will be able to contribute to later this year.

The pilot plan can be accessed here. The VHA will continue to monitor policy developments in this area and will keep members updated.