Heatwave preparations insufficient to protect vulnerable Victorians | Australian Greens

Heatwave preparations insufficient to protect vulnerable Victorians

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

With weather forecasts predicting a second hot day on Friday and more to come next week, Greens MP Colleen Hartland has raised concerns about the Baillieu Government's inaction on heatwave preparations.

"Older Victorians and people with existing medical conditions are particularly vulnerable to heatwaves. During the 2009 heatwaves, there were 374 more deaths in Victoria than the average and nearly 3 times as many heart attacks reported," said Colleen Hartland, Victorian Greens spokesperson on Health.

"The Baillieu Government has failed to link the Statewide Heatwave Plan to emergency management planning and community organisations and local councils are calling for more resources to assist vulnerable people through heatwaves."

"Even though they are required to have already completed a Climate Change Adaptation Plan by law, we are yet to see anything from the Baillieu Government. Heatwaves are predicted to become more frequent and severe in Victoria due to climate change."

"While we all remember the tragedy of the fires on 7 February 2009 in which 173 people died, we must not forget the 374 additional deaths that occurred that same summer during the heatwaves in the week leading up to Black Saturday."

"The Baillieu Government is set to benefit from more than $30 million by raising public housing rents on the poorest Victorians, yet the Minister for Housing was unable to even tell me how many houses have eaves on windows, outside blinds, air conditioning, insulation or ceiling fans."

"I know from my work with older Victorians in high rise housing that they are incredibly vulnerable to heatwaves. The Minister should know how much more vulnerable inadequate housing makes them."

"I encourage all Victorians to take extra care in the heat and to check on older friends and relatives, as well as those with medical conditions through the heat this week and next."

"It is especially important to drink plenty of water, keep cool and stay out of the sun."