Media release

Government risks public health by rejecting Hazelwood recommendation

September 11, 2014

The Victorian Government is risking the health of all Victorians by refusing to implement a key recommendation of the Hazelwood Mine Fire Inquiry, says Environmental Justice Australia.

“Ruling out using air quality monitoring data to inform the public about the health risks of bushfires and inform decision making by authorities is deeply concerning,” said Nicola Rivers, Director of Advocacy at Environmental Justice Australia.  

“The people of Morwell suffered from the lack of clear health advice during the Hazelwood disaster. People didn’t know whether to stay or go, or what the health effects on their children would be.

“Health impacts from breathing in these pollutants occur within just 6 minutes.”

“Using real time data to make decisions about health risks is a critical component of the Inquiry’s findings.

“Ignoring this recommendation will expose Victorians to the same health risks we saw during the Hazelwood disaster where there was significant community confusion and inaction from authorities.

“It’s not good enough for our government to put that in the too-hard basket.

“How is the government planning to keep Victorians safe from the health impacts of future bushfire disasters if it does not monitor and release air quality data in real time?

“We are happy to see that the government has accepted the Inquiry’s recommendation to take the lead in advocating for improved limits to PM2.5 pollution.

“We’ll be watching carefully to make sure the government really does carry this out and doesn’t bend to pressure from polluting industries.”


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