The link between disadvantage and extreme heat in Melbourne


New VCOSS research has revealed the link between Melbourne’s hottest and most disadvantaged suburbs.

Urban ‘heat islands’ are built-up areas that trap heat and make hot days even hotter.

For low-income Victorians living in ‘heat island’ suburbs, the local environment is working against them on hot days.

As the research notes, “the implications for policymakers responsible for addressing urban heat are that data should be used to target interventions at local government areas with high levels of disadvantage and high urban heat island effect”.

Attributable to VCOSS CEO Juanita Pope:

Poorer people are living in hotter suburbs, often in cheaper housing, and feeling the heat a lot more.

For low-income Victorians in ‘heat island’ suburbs, the local environment is working against them.

Extreme heat is a threat to everybody, but especially those already living with a health condition or on a low-income.

Living on a low-income or with a health condition severely limits your ability to prepare for a heat wave and stay cool.

Part of the solution is greening our suburbs; more trees, more parks and less concrete.

But we also need to that recognise people on lower incomes, who live in cheaper housing in hotter areas, need extra support to deal with heat.

We need more investment to help low-income households keep cool, including free housing retrofits to enhance energy efficiency and comfort.


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.

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Media Contact:
Ryan Sheales
Director of Communications
0418 127 153

Past media releases

Extreme heat is a threat to everybody, but especially those living in poverty or disadvantage.
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Victoria should stop allowing energy retailers to pass on marketing costs to people using Victoria’s no-frills default power offer.
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Juanita Pope has been appointed CEO of the Victorian Council of Social Service.
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Dan Andrews has lived up to his promise not to waste a minute.
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We break down which groups are subjected to the most poverty, and where they live.
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The VCOSS Board has appointed Juanita Pope as VCOSS Interim CEO.
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VCOSS acknowledges the Traditional Owners of Country. We pay respect to Elders past and present, and to emerging leaders. Our business is conducted our business on sovereign, unceded Aboriginal land.