Extreme heat kills more Australians than any other form of natural disaster, and people experiencing disadvantage are the most impacted.
For some people a heatwave means blasting an air-conditioner all day or taking a dip at the local pool. For others, it means physical sickness, mental illness, financial hardship, family violence, social isolation, and being cut off from essential services. People are more vulnerable to heat if they:
- Are young or older
- Can’t afford air-conditioning or a car
- have arrived in Victoria recently or don’t speak English
- Live in a rental home or public housing
- Sleep rough (homeless)
- Are pregnant or experiencing family violence
- Work outside or have an insecure job
- Have a disability or health condition
Community services organisations are instrumental in helping people cope and keep cool.
They open up air-conditioned offices for people to shelter, call vulnerable clients to check on their welfare, and provide advice to clients about thermal comfort and energy usage. Organisations are rarely funded for this critical work.
More than 600 Victorians were hospitalised by the 2014 heatwave.
The number of very hot days in Victoria is on track to double by 2050.
There’s no official data on how many Victorians are killed by extreme heat every year.
Related VCOSS research
A climate of fairness
What you told us.
Report launch – public event
Recorded live on Thursday 3 June, 2021
The pre-recorded videos played during this live event are all available higher up on this page.
VCOSS is the peak body for Victoria’s social and community sector, and the state’s premier social advocacy body.
We work towards a Victoria free from poverty and disadvantage, where every person and community experiences genuine wellbeing. Read more.
We welcome the opportunity to provide this input.