Department of Health

Climate change adaptation and emissions reduction

Key messages

  • Climate change poses a threat to the health and wellbeing of all Victorians.
  • A fast-changing environment is having direct and immediate consequences for Victorians and the health and human services system.
  • In consultation with the Victorian community and key stakeholders, the Department of Health and Department of Families, Fairness and Housing have prepared the Health and human services climate change adaptation action plan 2022-2026.
  • The plan will support progress towards our long-term adaptation objective of making our health and human services system resilient to climate change.
  • Alongside the adaptation action plan, the department and funded agencies are undertaking a range of initiatives to monitor, report and reduce their greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Action in both areas is urgently needed to protect the health and wellbeing of Victorians from the climate crisis.

Health and human services climate change adaptation action plan, 2022-2026

The Department of Health and Department of Families, Fairness and Housing have developed the Health and human services climate change adaptation action plan 2022-26.

Building on the Pilot health and human services climate change adaptation action plan 2019–21, the plan sets clear actions to support the Victorian community to stay healthy and well in a changing climate by improving access to climate and health-related information.

The plan focuses on climate resilient infrastructure and community and sector engagement on important climate and health issues.

Over the next five years, the plan will increase climate and health engagement and improve the resilience of the system to better adapt to climate change impacts.

The plan will also deliver a foundation for peer support, training, tools, and risk management resources to encourage partnerships across the health and human services system to build its climate knowledge and resilience.

These actions will guide progress towards the long-term adaptation objective: our health and human services system is resilient to climate change and ecologically sustainable, achieving the best health, wellbeing and safety for all Victorians so they will live a life they value.

Emissions reduction initiatives

The department and funded agencies, including public hospitals and health services, undertake a wide range of emission reduction initiatives across the health system.

Further emissions reduction activities for the health sector will occur alongside and in conjunction with adaptation actions outlined in the adaptation action plan.

These include activities associated with the Whole of Victorian Government's Emissions Reduction Pledge to use 100 per cent renewable electricity for all its operations from 2025.

This will see public hospitals and the departments' offices eliminate their largest source of direct emissions and see our passenger fleet vehicle emissions reduce year on year until they are fully electrified in 2032.

The department will continue to track emissions and progress initiatives to address the remainder of the sectors greenhouse emissions and will continue to publicly report on emissions through our annual report.

For further details on Victorian emissions reduction actions, please refer to Victoria’s Climate Change Strategy and Whole of Victorian Government Emissions Reduction Pledge.

For more information on the department’s emissions reduction and broader environmental sustainability initiatives, refer to Sustainability in healthcare.

Victorian Government climate change action

Victoria's Climate Change Act 2017 commits to net-zero emissions by 2050 and establishes a comprehensive five-yearly framework to reduce emissions and ensure state-wide systems are prepared to adapt to the impacts of climate change.

The Victorian Government has prepared seven adaptation action plans, including for Victoria's health and human services, built environment, education and training, natural environment, primary production, transport, and water cycle systems – that will provide an evidence-based, system-wide approach to adapting to climate change.

These adaptation action plans, and the community-led regional adaptation strategies are a major step forward in ensuring we are ready to respond to the changing climate.

Through the adaptation action plans, communities, industry and government will continue to work together to tackle the impacts of climate change and build climate resilience.

Reviewed 08 March 2022

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