A group of health professionals have stopped work on Adani’s Carmichael rail line this morning, saying the health effects of coal and climate change mean the controversial mine must be stopped.

The group, called Health On The Frontlines, gathered with supporters to block vehicles entering the rail construction site off the Gregory Highway in central Queensland.

Associate professor in public health Lisa Fitzgerald said “the evidence is clear that we are living in a climate emergency. Climate change is the number one public health issue for this generation and the generations to come. I have to do his protest as a role model for my daughters and my students – we cannot have any more climate destruction, we cannot have more coal coming out of the earth.”

Bundjalung man and public health academic Troy Combo said “I’ve worked in health for 25 years. I have tried to make a change by influencing policy and making sure aboriginal health stayed on the agenda of government. I know that for aboriginal people, health and wellbeing and connection to country are inseparable. So to hear about native title being extinguished here made me realise the need to come to the frontline and address climate change directly.”

The Australian Medical Association in 2019 declared climate change a health emergency and has since reiterated that. The global Lancet Countdown on health and climate change wrote in its most recent report “Climate change is already harming the health of communities around the globe and none of us are immune. Without significant intervention, this new era will come to define the health of people at every stage of their lives, particularly children and other vulnerable people…We must address the climate emergency, protect biodiversity, and strengthen the natural systems on which our civilisation depends. This is a moment we cannot afford to ignore. Just as we have seen with COVID-19, delayed action will cause avoidable deaths.”