A new report released by the Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF) has found that over 90% of the nation’s polluting facilities are located in low-to-middle income postcodes, with only 0.01% of such facilities being found in wealthier areas.
Of the five most polluted areas – Newman and Collie in WA, Mount Isa in Queensland, the Hunter region in NSW and the Latrobe Valley in Victoria – coal-fired power stations are the largest emitters in three, while mining operations create the most emissions in the other two.
“Air pollution kills around 3,000 Australians every year and worsens conditions such as asthma, emphysema, chronic bronchitis and other respiratory diseases,” said Matthew Rose, the Australian Conservation Foundation’s Economics Program Manager.
“Air pollution is a climate issue and a class issue in Australia. Poorer Australians who live around mines or refineries or in the shadows of coal-fired power stations are unfairly bearing the burden of pollution that is a by-product of the goods and services all Australians use.