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Position statement:
Cleaner air for Australians

Policy priorities for the 2022 Federal election 

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11 March 2022

As a health issue, air pollution has typically received little attention. It could be because by world standards Australia’s air quality is considered ‘good’. But the latest scientific evidence shows there is no safe level of air pollution—all pollution matters.


Unbeknown to most, the heath impacts of air pollution in Australia are significant. Our research has found that long-term exposure to air pollution in Australia leads to over 2,500 deaths and costs Australians $6.2 billion every year. Our research has also shown that substantial health benefits are achievable even with modest decreases in air pollution.


In the lead-up to the next federal election in 2022, we have released our document Cleaner Air for Australians which outlines 6 air quality policy priorities for the government to pursue. Our priorities are underpinned by our commitment to minimise the negative health impacts of air pollution and energy sources on Australians, and to support the development of evidence-based policies and practices to protect the health of Australians.


Action in these 6 areas is needed now:

1. Alignment of national air quality standards with 2021 WHO air quality guidelines, underpinned by a continuous emissions reduction framework.

2. Strong enforcement and compliance mechanisms for exceedances of both ambient and point source pollution, supported by an enhanced air quality monitoring network.

3. Strong national action to reduce the health burden of wood heaters through the establishment of a national fund to support a wood heater replacement scheme.

4. Introduction of subsidy schemes to support vulnerable populations to 
access high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters.

5. Increased investment in, and adoption of, policies that incentivise the uptake of electric vehicles (EVs) and EV-related infrastructure.

6. Accelerated reduction of emissions from the combustion of fossil fuels through increased investment in, and adoption of, policies that incentivise the uptake of renewable, low-emitting sources of energy.

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