Thursday, 15 June 2017

Morwell residents concerned about exposure to ash residue from the 2014 Hazelwood brown coal mine fire can rest assured that any ash present in their roof cavities is not a health risk, according to a new independent study.

Member for Eastern Victoria Harriet Shing today welcomed the findings of the independent study into the roof cavities of 50 homes in Morwell. The expert investigator collected and tested samples of ash residue to identify and assess any possible risks to residents’ health

Results show that while brown coal ash residue is present in the roof cavities of some Morwell houses, the amount of ash and its chemical make-up are not likely to affect people’s health.

The final report concludes “removal of ash and/or coal dust (where present) from roof cavities is not considered to be warranted or necessary to prevent health risks to property occupants”.

The Andrews Labor Government has accepted the independent expert’s recommendations not to remove any ash residue or dust in Morwell roof cavities. We are committed to supporting the Latrobe Valley community, and improving the overall health and wellbeing of local residents.

More than $80 million has been invested by the Labor Government to support communities and implement the recommendations of the Hazelwood Mine Fire Inquiry reports. This includes significant investments to improve the health outcomes of current and future generations of Latrobe Valley communities.

We will expand the State Smoke Framework to increase protection for communities during smoke events, establish permanent air quality monitoring sites in the Latrobe Valley, and develop a regional strategy for modernising the regulation of coal mines.

The Latrobe Health Assembly is also driving better health outcomes in the Valley by bringing the community, health agencies, local and state government together to work side-by-side.

This work will design and deliver services that are tailored to better meet the needs of families in the Valley, now and into the future.

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Quotes attributable to Member for Eastern Victoria, Harriet Shing:

“All Victorians are advised to minimise contact with any dust in their roof cavities to avoid breathing in dust particles and other hazards that may be present.”

“I would like to thank all the Latrobe Valley residents that participated in this project to help us learn more about the presence of ash residue from the Hazelwood coal mine fire.”