Last updated on 14/05/2024


Asthma Australia says that legislation introduced in Victoria this year to phase out gas connections in new homes doesn’t go far enough. It is calling for a ban on installation of wood heaters in new homes in residential areas to ensure the transition away from fossil fuels in Victoria protects the health of residents.

Asthma Australia has written to the Victorian Government to encourage them to take the issue of air pollution from wood heaters seriously and take immediate action. Wood heaters are the main source of winter air pollution in many Australian cities and towns, despite being used by a minority of households. Victoria’s Clean Air Strategy states the annual health costs associated with one wood heater can exceed $4,000, and estimates wood heater use could lead to $8 billion in health impacts in Victoria over the decade leading up to 2028.(1)

Every new wood heater has the potential to harm the health of people living nearby. Along with the 1 in 9 people with asthma in Australia, pregnant people, older people, infants and young children are all more likely to suffer health problems caused by their neighbours’ woodsmoke. The pollutants in wood heater smoke also contribute to conditions like heart disease and dementia. In Asthma Australia’s national consumer survey into wood heaters, 77 per cent of the general population agreed that wood heaters should not be allowed in urban or built-up areas. This was even higher among people with asthma (84 per cent). People who are exposed to wood heaters said they are largely unable to protect themselves from the smoke, further demonstrating the need for government regulation.

Asthma Australia Policy Manager Angela Cartwright said “Victoria is becoming an energy efficient, electric state. With the accelerating transition to renewable energy, all-electric homes produce less pollution, fewer greenhouse gas emissions, and lower energy bills. Wood heaters and fire pits no longer have a place in a modern Victorian home.”

Asthma Australia is also asking everyday Victorians to make different choices in their homes in the meantime. It wants Victorians to invest in healthy, efficient reverse-cycle air conditioning, not new wood heaters.

Ms Cartwright said “Wood heaters are an inefficient form of home heating that cause air pollution. Anyone who can choose an efficient alternative form of heating should move away from wood heating. Tiny smoke particles from wood heaters are breathed deep into our airways, which is not only problematic for asthma and other respiratory conditions but causes health problems when these fine particulates enter the bloodstream.

We ask people in residential areas who are planning to add a wood heater to their new build or renovation to consider changing their minds. Wood heaters are not just a danger to their neighbours with asthma, but to pregnant people, older people, infants and young children. It’s important for Victorian consumers to know that their choices can have a huge positive impact.


(1) Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (2022).

For more information:
Contact Trinity Frederick, 0413 992 282