The Aboriginal Health Council of Western Australia (AHCWA)'s submission to the WA Department of Water and Environmental Regulation’s (DWER) Issues Paper on Climate Change in Western Australia.
Ensuring the resilience of the Western Australian economy by exploring opportunities for innovation and safeguarding industry is a key focus of this paper. However, ensuring the resilience of individuals and communities through optimal health and wellbeing is a priority as well. As a sector, AHCWA and its member Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Serices (ACCHS) are acutely aware of the relationship between the environmental consequences of climate change and the health and wellbeing impacts being experienced by Aboriginal people.
- Consult and listen to the Aboriginal community. Engagement with Aboriginal people, their communities and ACCHS must be genuine, and it is essential that, in any climate change response discussion, Aboriginal sovereignty and relationship with country is respected, protected and promoted.
- Culturally secure education and awareness raising for Aboriginal people about the health impacts of climate change is a first step in gaining support for adaptation and mitigation initiatives in communities.
- While the threat of climate change is real, and the opportunities to adapt to and mitigate its impacts are evident, a genuine, collaborative and coordinated response to this challenge must be sustainable over time