The group, including doctors, nurses and other healthcare workers set up a mock medical ward with dying patients to demonstrate the health impacts of air pollution and climate change, and delivered an open letter signed by 25 Australian health organisations and over 600 healthcare workers calling for AGL to commit to replace coal with renewable energy by 2030, in line with recommendations from the World Health Organisation. 
“Gippslanders face significant health burdens as a result of both toxic air pollution from Victorian coal fired power stations and the health impacts of climate change from droughts and deadly bushfires. To save lives from both of these threats, AGL needs to replace Loy Yang A with renewable energy by 2030 while ensuring the wellbeing of workers and the local community.” said Dr Benjamin Lewis, a GP in Warragul.
“As a mental health professional, I see a lot of uncertainty in the community about both climate change and the future of the energy industry, and that can have severe impacts on people’s mental health,” said Veronique Hamilton, a mental health nurse in the Latrobe Valley.
“Loy Yang A’s current closure date of 2048 is unrealistic and AGL need to come clean with the community about a realistic and appropriate plan to replace it with renewable energy and ensure a transition that includes skilled local jobs.”
AGL is a joint respondent in a court case brought by conservation group Environment Victoria seeking to limit air pollution and greenhouse gases from the power stations in the Latrobe Valley, and has had dozens of breaches for ash spills, exceeding air pollution limits and water contamination.
AGL is Australia's biggest climate polluter, producing over twice as many greenhouse gas emissions as any other Australian company and responsible for 8% of Australia's total emissions.
Healthcare professionals and students are calling on AGL to transition to 100% renewable energy by 2030 and end its polluting coal-burning which is harming the health of all Australians.
Average temperatures in Australia have risen by 1.4 degrees in the last century. Over the 2019-20 summer, unprecedented bushfires directly killed 33 Australians, destroyed over 3,000 homes, and killed an estimated 417 further Australians through the toxic effects of the smoke]. Climate change is projected to impact on the physical and mental health of many more Australians by increasing the frequency and severity of bushfires, droughts and heatwaves, as well as increasing risk of allergic and infectious diseases. In order to protect Australians from these impacts AGL must develop a plan to shut down its coal fired power stations and replace them with renewable energy by 2030 at the latest.
It is crucial that this energy transition is planned to protect the welfare of communities who have been historically dependent on coal industry jobs, and that legacy assets and infrastructure are fully rehabilitated to ensure environmental protection and ongoing employment after closure.
AGL has an immediate opportunity to save the lives of hundreds of Australians every year from the effects of toxic air pollution and climate change.
If you're a healthcare worker or health science student please fill in your details to sign this public letter to AGL (if you're a health organisation, please email [email protected] instead).
Please sign up for email updates from Healthy Futures to hear about all the latest activities in their AGL campaign.
Any enquiries please contact Jonathan Moylan 0431 289 766