A PAEDIATRIC surgeon was among protesters in Albury yesterday calling on the federal government to scrap the billions of dollars spent on fossil fuel subsidies each year.
Border Medical Association chairwoman Dr Tracey Merriman said the money would be better spent on health resources and services, such as slashing surgical waiting lists or a Border headspace centre.
Organised by Wodonga Albury Towards Climate Health, environmentalists armed with a giant mock cheque stood outside Sussan Ley’s Farrer electorate office asking her to take the message to Parliament.
They placed a large “cancelled” stamp on the cheque.
The protest group chairman, Lauriston Muirhead, of Albury, said: “We are fed up with subsidising the fossil fuel industry.
“Every year more than $10 million of taxpayer money is spent subsidising big polluters, including some of the world’s most profitable mining companies.”
Mr Muirhead said the cheque represented the $65 million that people in the Farrer electorate give the fossil fuel industry in the form of various subsidies every year.
“That is about $500 for every man, woman and child every year,” he said.
“This goes on across Australia in each federal electorate resulting in more than $10 billion a year being given to largely foreign companies who dig up our resources and burn them, polluting our land, seas and atmosphere in the process.
“We would much rather this money was spent on local health funding and other worthy initiatives.”
Dr Merriman agreed, saying that in a democracy where there were limited funds available, government spending should be directed towards health.
“The entire country is struggling with health resources and services,” she said.
“It would be good to see money spent on slashing surgical waiting lists or a headspace centre on the Border.”
The event was part of rolling actions happening across Victoria in the lead up to the federal budget.
The “cheque” will go to the office of member for Indi Sophie Mirabella in Wangaratta on Monday.