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Fact sheet

Fact Check: Do more people die in Australia than Sweden due to poorly heated homes?

Liberal Party of Australia Heating Deaths Energy justice Heating ventilation and air conditioning

Liberal MP Craig Kelly claimed poorly heated homes cause more deaths in Australia than in Sweden, despite our milder winters. He said: "Our rates of excess mortality are twice that of places like Sweden simply because we don't have adequate heating in our homes." RMIT ABC Fact Check found Mr Kelly's claim is overstated. The evidence supports the claim that more Australians than Swedes die in cold temperatures, and these deaths relate to moderate ' rather than extreme ' cold. But while temperature is a factor, lifestyle and general health risks also play a role, making it hard to attribute winter deaths to moderate cold alone. Deaths peak every winter in Australia, with cardiovascular disease contributing significantly to the rise. And although winter increases the risks associated with circulatory diseases, this could be due to the cold or alternatively, to infections. Cold temperatures can raise blood pressure and increase cardiovascular strain, so people living in cold houses are at added risk. This would appear to support Mr Kelly's claim. But it is a stretch to say deaths are "simply" the result of inadequate heating. Our habits also play a part in keeping warm.
Verdict: Overstated

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