Premier

Morwell Mine Fire Roof Ash To Be Tested

07 July 2016

The Andrews Labor Government is getting on with implementing its response to the Hazelwood Mine Fire Inquiry, with work to test ash residue in roof cavities in Morwell now underway.

Minister for Health, Jill Hennessy, today announced expressions of interest are now open to participate in the independent process to test ash in Morwell roof cavities.

Following the 2014 Hazelwood Mine Fire there has been ongoing community concern about exposure to ash that collected in the roof cavities of houses in the area. These concerns were ignored by the former Coalition Government.

Now, in line with recommendations of the reopened Mine Fire Inquiry, the Labor Government is engaging an independent expert to develop a testing and sampling program across a representative sample of Morwell homes.

The independent expert will test and analyse the ash contained in 50 roof cavities in Morwell and identify and assess any risks to health. These results will then be compared with another ten roof cavities in a separate area in Gippsland unaffected by the Mine Fire.

The Government will publicly release the test results and will work side-by-side with the community to address the findings.

As part of the Labor Government’s work to support the community and implement the recommendations of the reopened Mine Fire Inquiry report we are also:

  • Investing to improve health outcomes of current and future generations of Latrobe Valley communities
  • Reviewing the scope and structure of the long term health study
  • Expanding the State Smoke Framework to increase protection for communities during smoke events
  • Establishing permanent air quality monitoring sites in the Latrobe Valley
  • Developing a regional strategy for rehabilitation planning and modernising the regulation of coal mines
  • Increasing the rehabilitation bonds for the Latrobe Valley Coal Mines

Morwell residents interested in being part of the roof cavity study can obtain an expression of interest form from Latrobe City Council offices or at https://www2.health.vic.gov.au/emergencies/hazelwood/ash-projectExternal Link

Quotes attributable to Minister for Health Jill Hennessy

“We know the issue of brown coal ash in roof cavities is a significant concern for the community – that’s why we are determined to get to the bottom of these concerns as quickly as possible.”

“We want the community to be involved every step of the way, that’s why it’s so important people affected by the fire and ash register to be one of the 50 houses involved in this project.”

Quotes attributable to Member for Eastern Victoria Harriet Shing

“The engagement of an independent expert is part of a number of actions we are taking to make Morwell homes safer and to improve the overall health of local residents.”

Reviewed 19 August 2020

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